As the Texas volleyball team was playing in the Final Four in Louisville last year – eventually winning a national championship – two interested observers were in the stands.
"It was really cool to watch our team in that setting," University of Texas freshman volleyball player Chiaka Ogbogu said. "We just kept looking over at each other saying we couldn't wait to be there next year. We just got goosebumps from the whole experience even though we weren't participating in it."
Ogbogu and Chloe Collins were in town playing in a high school all-star game, and the two soon-to-be Horns saw their future teammates win it all. Ogbogu was excited to join a championship team, but knew finding playing time on a loaded roster would be a challenge.
"I really wanted to play this year but knew I was a freshman coming into such a successful program," Ogbogu said.
When the season began, she wasn't on the court.
"We wanted to be 100 percent positive we wanted to utilize her because we think her upside is very special," Longhorns head coach Jerritt Elliott said.
It turns out her upside was too high to turn down.
"She's got great composure. She's super competitive. She's got great vision and a great range," Elliott said.
Ogbogu saw her first action in the seventh game of the year against Illinois and two games later made her first start at TCU.
"I feel like once I realized the competitiveness factor, I was able to compete every day and earn a starting spot," Ogbogu said.
Ogbogu has been named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week two straight times, and has given the Horns yet another weapon on the front line. Instead of watching, this year she may be playing in the Final Four.
"I would like for my first year to be in that setting," Ogbogu said. "I think it would be really exciting to have my first year in the Final Four or in the championship."
Ogbogu and the Longhorns return to action at home on Saturday night against Iowa State.