O'Connor found herself in air by merely starting at middle hitter for the Lady Purple Hurricanes this season.
"There's only been three freshmen to ever start since I've been [at Cartersville]," said Busby, noting that no freshman ever put up the kind of numbers than O'Connor, who totaled 172 kills and 37 blocks.
"It's a great luxury anytime someone puts up those numbers as a junior or senior, let alone as a freshman," Busby added.
For her efforts during her first high school season, O'Connor has been named The Daily Tribune News' All-County Volleyball Rookie of the Year.
Unprecedented may describe the type of season O'Connor put together for Busby's Lady Canes, but unexpected would not be a word the coach would use.
"I kind of had that sense [of her ability] since she was in fifth grade," said Busby, O'Connor's fifth-grade teacher. "I kind of started pushing her at that time to give volleyball a try."
"She was always highly competitive, no matter what the game was," he continued about O'Connor, also a varsity basketball player for the Cartersville High girls team.
Talent is good to have but a number of splendid freshmen throughout the annals of sports have had to wait their turn.
Enter opportunity, which presented itself with the Lady Canes looking to replace six seniors from 2009, including three selections to The Daily Tribune News' All-County Volleyball Team -- Caitlin Conduff, Amanda Lowenstein and player of the year Alexandria Clyburn.
"We lost six players, and we didn't have much depth in the position she was most suited for," Busby acknowledged. "She kind of walked in at the right time for the team and herself as well."
To suggest the rest of O'Connor's story speaks for itself would be to ignore that acclimation process of going from middle school volleyball to the speed at which varsity high school volleyball is played.
"It was actually a pretty big learning curve that happened throughout the year. She was kind of a deer in headlights the first three matches of the year," Busby admitted. "I knew she would adapt."
It still did not prevent O'Connor from feeling frustration during that opening-season match with Walker and Kennesaw Mountain.
"I think she was a little discouraged, especially after our first match at Kennesaw Mountain," Busby said. "I tried to brace her for it. ... I told her, 'Prepare yourself, do what you can, don't worry about it.'"
O'Connor's competitive juices kicked in as the freshman would not settle for being anything less than as good as her older teammates.
"She wanted to get better," Busby said. "She didn't like the other players being better than her."
Cartersville started 0-7 as it tried to find its groove, which occurred in late August with its first win over Northwest Whitfield.
O'Connor began to come around, too.
"Hitting out of the middle, it depends so much on our passing," Busby revealed. "Once our passing improved, it allowed her to hit a rhythm."
O'Connor and the Lady Canes carried that rhythm to the Georgia High School Association state tournament after securing the No. 2 seed out of Area 6-AAA.
The state tournament appearance -- the first since 2008 -- allowed Cartersville, especially its seniors, to heal from the disappointment of being eliminated in the area tournament the year before, despite top billing as a No. 1 seed.
The Lady Canes won their first two matches of the Class AAA state tournament, sweeping Drew (25-12, 25-22, 25-15) and beating Grovetown (25-18, 25-21, 20-25, 25-14) before drawing the No. 1-ranked team and eventual state champion Woodward Academy in the quarterfinals.
Cartersville lost to the Lady War Eagles (25-6, 25-18, 25-6) as Woodward went on to complete its quest of back-to-back-to-back state championships.
O'Connor, who had 8 kills and 3 blocks vs. Drew and 11 and 4 vs. Grovetown, will take center stage next season with the loss of seniors Samantha Conley and Megan Patton -- both all-county selections -- and Lyndsey Jones and Emily Williams.
"[The] main things we're gonna work on next year, we're going to expand our offense," Busby said. "She'll [O'Connor] be one of the focal points of our offense. ... We want her to become a force as a blocker."
Busby wants to see improvement in O'Connor's blocking, quickness and jumping ability.
"Not that these things aren't good now, but these are things that we want to improve on," he said. "She's going to draw the interest of opposing teams, which will allow other girls to step up and will allow us to be more balanced."
With O'Connor in an even more prominent place amongst the team's pecking order, she could expound considerably upon her freshmen year, where her talents took a backseat to no one, according to Busby.
"I think she was probably the biggest offensive threat in our area."