It's hard not to notice the brace on Becky Pund's left shoulder.
Over the summer, Pund suffered a torn labrum.
Her choices were to wear a brace and play through the injury or have surgery that would cost her part of her senior season.
For Pund, the choice was a no-brainer.
"I just wanted to play," she said. "And it's at the point where the injury is not even something I think about."
It's a telling theme for the way Pund is approaching this season: Most of the things others notice about her Gloucester Catholic girls' basketball team are of little use to Pund, a levelheaded point guard and floor general with a fierce competitive nature.
Others look at the Rams and see a lineup as deep and flawless as any in South Jersey. Others will talk about how few teams can match the Rams' size and athleticism.
"But we try not to pay attention to what other people are saying about us," Pund said. "For us, it all starts in practice. Every day, we go hard in practice. Every day, we're working to become stronger as a team. That's what we focus on."
The Rams entered this season as the No. 2 team in the Inquirer's preseason South Jersey girls' basketball Top 10.
Including Pund, they have a crop of guards that, among other talents, are the top outside-shooting unit in South Jersey.
They have a 6-foot superstar forward in sophomore Mary Gedaka, daughter of coach Lisa Gedaka. After the first 30 days of the season, Mary Gedaka will be joined in the frontcourt by 5-foot-11 forward Kennedi Thompson, a transfer from Clearview, who was one of the area's top post players as a sophomore last season.
"I think we have a lot of players who really complement each other," Lisa Gedaka said. "And Becky plays a huge role in our success. She's one of our floor generals."
Pund was a transfer last season. She played the first two years of her high school career at St. John Vianney in Holmdel, where she helped the team to a Non-Public A state title as a freshman.
Asked what advice she has offered Thompson as she adjusts to her new team, Pund didn't hesitate.
"Definitely it's learning the system that we play," Pund said.
Asked to describe her team's system, Pund smiled and shrugged her shoulders before answering: "Crazy?"
Lisa Gedaka, a former Gloucester Catholic standout who went on to have her jersey number retired at Villanova, runs the type of full-court presses and half-court sets you'd expect to see in college.
The complexity is glaring even to the casual spectator.
"The key to learning our system is just to always play hard - that's really the biggest thing," said Pund, who plans to play in college but is undecided on where. "I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in my second year with the team, and a big part of that just comes from the work that we put in."
In her senior season, Pund's game is as well-rounded as her outlook. She'll drive to the basket just as seamlessly as she'll drain a three-pointer, and she's one of the area's best defenders. That much is obvious to anyone who has seen her play, but it wasn't the first thing that came to Lisa Gedaka's mind when describing her star guard.
"She's such a great kid, and she's one of the most coachable players I've ever had," Gedaka said. "She does a lot of the little things right, she's a great ball-handler, she really understands the flow of the offense. . . . And, most importantly, she's a leader for us."