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From age five to year four of college, always working toward the next level

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Taeler Deer, senior guard, stands near the three-point line in a past game against Texas A&M- Corpus Christi.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Spiller

Pushing themselves to the next step is something that many athletes strive to do whether it is either on or off of the court or field. One Texas State student, has been pushing herself ever since she laid hands on her first basketball.

Senior guard Taeler Deer has been playing basketball ever since she competed in a coed team at age 5. She was first inspired to start playing by her stepdad.

Although Deer’s first love was basketball, she also played other sports like volleyball and ran track and field. She enjoyed these sports, but it was in her freshman year of high school she realized her passion was in basketball.

From that point forward, basketball was Deer’s primary sport. When it came time to choose a college to play for, her options were more than plentiful. Deer received offers to play basketball at schools like Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Southern Mississippi, Texas Southern University, Texas A&M University-Prairie View and many more.

However, being a Houston native, Deer knew she did not want to stray too far away from home, so she decided to accept the offer to be a Bobcat.

“My family is probably at 80 percent of my games,” Deer said. “My stepdad, mom and sister are my biggest supporters.”

Along with her family, Deer also found support right away from the Bobcat community.

“The coaches made me feel like I could change the program here,” Deer said. “It felt like home, the people were accepting and loving. The teammates and coaches really helped me push myself as hard as I can.”

During her freshman year at Texas State, Deer played in 27 games and averaged 17.0 minutes per game. Sophomore year, her playing time increased slightly and she played in 29 games.

Deer continued to work hard and told herself that junior year would be the year she finds herself, and she proved to herself and the team just that.

Last season, Deer started in 23 out of the 31 regular season games. Being a starter meant that she had pushed herself to what she knew she was capable of.

“I love just being able to play the game,” Deer said. “Just continuing to play, seeing myself get better, helping my teammates get better and them helping me get better. It’s a hard grind, but it made me better as a person.”

Deer’s success on the court did not go unnoticed, and she was able to add a few accomplishments to her collegiate athletic resume.

“My greatest accomplishment here has been Sports Madness Mid-Major National Player of the Week and Third Team All Conference,” Deer said. “I need to do better this year and try to get First Team All Conference.”

Although she already has success under her belt, she is looking ahead to the upcoming season in hopes of improving and pushing herself even further than where she is right now.

“First of all, I have to get my free throw percentage up to around 89 percent,” Deer said. “I also need to get my three-point shot more consistent and be more aggressive and stay focused every game.”

Deer’s determination is not just selfish to herself and her own play, but she also considers the team as a whole.

“I have to leave everything on the court by trying to get a championship and try to win the regular season,” Deer said.

Deer is staying focused and looking in the present, but being a senior, she has already started to think about what her future could look like—which is a motivating factor all on its own.

“I would love to play professional basketball, I’ve always wanted to,” Deer said. “It would mean a lot because it would show how much work I’ve put in at the college level and the high school level and the middle school level to keep playing. Playing at the professional level would really mean a lot to me.”

While Deer is looking forward to her last year as a Bobcat—on and off the court—she will never stop working toward the next level.

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