clint.thompson@gaflnews.com



THOMASVILLE -- Her high school basketball career was defined by toughness, playing with an broken pinky during her senior year. Her college career was defined by greatness, finishing with the career assist record in NCAA Division II.

Now Selina Khon, formerly Selina Bynum, is sharing those qualities on the collegiate level.

This time as a coach.

Once a dominant guard for the Central Jackettes and Albany State Lady Rams, Khon is now the head basketball and volleyball coach at Paine College in Augusta. She has proven to be just as effective from the sidelines as she was on the court.

This season, Khon's squad finished 16-10.

Was coaching part of the future for Khon?

"Coaching wasn't what I had in the plans, but when God speaks, you listen," Khon said.

Khon did listen.

After finishing her playing career, Khon stayed at Albany State as an assistant for three years.

She then moved on to Paine College, where in five seasons as head coach she says she's found the game to be totally different as the person in charge.

"It's much easier when playing, because as a coach there are more responsibilities and less sleep," Khon said jokingly.

Khon also pointed out how much she learned from some of her former coaches who helped her during her playing career.

"My first year I came across former coaches and told them I didn't understand a lot of things they taught me until now," Khon said. "The coach is responsible for the team and its structure."

Khon made it clear that the women's game she's coaching and the one she played 10 years ago are very different.

"The game has sped up, and it's more of a fast-paced game," Khon said. "I see more individual talent. I mean back when I played, it was unheard of for a post-player to dribble."

But while Khon says the game has grown for women's athletics, she points out how the energy level is not like it was.

"I tell my players that 'I wish you guys could go back to when I play, you wouldn't last," Khon said. "You have to run two miles while we had to run six."

Khon has been playing basketball since she was in the sixth grade. She went onto play for Thomas County Central and head coach Eugene Conner.

Though the Yellow Jackets won five state titles in football during the 90s, Khon complimented her team's supporters in the school and around Thomas County.

"I thought we had pretty good support," Khon said. "In my junior year we finished as the state-runner up. People did what they could for us, but football is definitely big."

Conner reflected on his outstanding guard that ran the show for the Lady Jackets, and he gave her his highest praise.

"She was our point guard and our playmaker," Conner said. "She handled the ball real well and was what we called our thinker on the floor. She was the best point guard we ever had."

After leading her team to the state finals her junior year, Khon would have to battle through adversity in her senior season. In a mad scramble for a loose ball, Khon's pinky was stepped on. Khon suffered crushed bones in her shooting hand and was dealt bad news by doctors.

"They told me that I wasn't going to be able to play," Khon said.

Though Khon did suffer an injury during her senior year, Conner said her toughness helped her deal with the pain.

"She was just a go-getter, and she didn't let an injury stop her," Conner said. "She did her job well."

Khon's game carried to the next level at Albany State University, where she played for three coaches, the last coach, Robert Skinner taught Khon her junior and senior year.

"She brought all the things to the table," Skinner said. "She brought leadership at the point guard position. She handled the offense and executed on defense. She did just about everything she needed to do."

It was Khon's off-the-court personality, however, that may have impressed Skinner the most.

"She was very pleasant, articulate and bright in the classroom," Skinner said. "Her mother did an excellent job."

Khon also is the girls volleyball coach at Paine College. Her team finished 22-11 this year. Though Khon said volleyball really wasn't her thing at first, she's grown to love the competitive nature of it.

"Volleyball's just as if not much more competitive than basketball," Khon said. "I really enjoy it. There's probably more rules and regulations in volleyball."

Khon certainly made a name for herself during her playing days as a Yellow Jacket and Golden Ram. But she's starting to establish herself in the coaching circles on the collegiate level.

Would she like to someday move up to a bigger school or would she prefer to stay with the school that first gave her a chance?

"I don't know what's in store for the future," Khon said.

Though she's uncertain what the future holds, Khon does have a good idea it will involve an arena somewhere.

"I know my job will be to help young female athletes get prepared for life."

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