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Buckley officer overcomes setback to make the team

1st Lt. Dymond James, 460th Operations Group staff instructor, pulls up for a shot during her 2012-2013 season. James was a standout playing basketball for the U.S. Air Force Academy women’s team and recently made the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Dymond James, 460th Operations Group staff instructor, pulls up for a shot during her 2012-2013 season. James was a standout playing basketball for the U.S. Air Force Academy women’s team and recently made the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team poses for a picture at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Twelve women were selected to play for the team, which will compete in an Armed Forces Tournament over the 4th of July weekend. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team poses for a picture at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Twelve women were selected to play for the team, which will compete in an Armed Forces Tournament over the 4th of July weekend. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Dymond James, 460th Operations Group staff instructor, goes up for a layup against the University of Nevada during her 2012-2013 season on the Air Force Academy’s women’s basketball team. James recently made the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team and will compete against other branches of service. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Dymond James, 460th Operations Group staff instructor, goes up for a layup against the University of Nevada during her 2012-2013 season on the Air Force Academy’s women’s basketball team. James recently made the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team and will compete against other branches of service. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Dymond James, 460th Operations Group staff instructor, participates in a game during her 2012-2013 season. James recently made the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team and will be competing in a tournament against other branches of service. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Dymond James, 460th Operations Group staff instructor, participates in a game during her 2012-2013 season. James recently made the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team and will be competing in a tournament against other branches of service. (Courtesy photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Air Force Academy graduate, 1st Lt. Dymond James, 460th Operations Group staff instructor, recently went down to Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, to compete for a position on the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team, and made it.

James was a standout while playing at the U.S. Air Force Academy, accumulating dozens of accolades for her play on the court. She led the Fighting Falcons in points per game and rebounds her sophomore year, was voted most valuable player her junior year and made fourth all-time in points per game (10.7) for the Academy women’s basketball her senior year.  

Her athletic talent is something that runs in her family. Her father, mother and older brother all played colligate sports at the division one level. James contributes some of her talent to the fact that she grew up playing against her older brother and other boys.

“We’re all competitive,” James said.  “Growing up, women’s basketball wasn’t as popular so a lot of times I did play with guys. I think that definitely gave me a competitive advantage.”

James tried out for a few teams overseas after graduating from the Academy but decided she wasn’t interested in continuing the rigorous schedule that comes along with basketball at that level.

When James started her tour at Buckley AFB, she started playing for the Buckley AFB men’s team. During the summer of 2015, she tore her lateral meniscus while playing in a tournament.

Receiving reconstructive surgery a few months later, James never gave up on the thought that she’d be able to play basketball competitively again. Months after her surgery, she finally tested the strength and durability of her repaired knee by sprinting for the first time. This is when she realized playing basketball was a reality again, James explained.

The opportunity to try-out and play with the Air Force women’s basketball team is the first time James has played competitively on her reconstructed knee.

She found out only two weeks before try outs that she had been selected to attend.

“I wasn’t planning on trying out because of my upcoming permanent change of station,” said James. “When I got selected for the team after the Memorial Day weekend, I was like ‘Oh no, I need to get my stuff together.’ So I started playing basketball with the guys on base to get my cardio up.”

The try outs have gone great for James as she made the final roster of 12. Next the women’s team will take on the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine women’s teams in an armed forces tournament.

It isn’t a surprise that James succeeded at making the team. She not only excels on the court, but also off the court, helping train and guide new personnel to the installation.

“She is a great team player and holds up her end of the bargain,” Capt. Michaela Schannep, 460th Operations Support Squadron chief of block 10 training said. “She makes sure nobody is getting left behind when it comes to getting stuff done and taking care of people.”

James continues to work hard on and off the court, and is enjoying her time back on the hardwood.

“I am glad that I came,” James said. “Especially with my career, I don’t know where it is going and how much longer I’ll be afforded the opportunity to do this. I think the cards have lined up right and everything has worked out.”