Camp: Las Vegas
One thing we love is when our campers step up and take the lead. We understand that being in a new environment with new players can be scary so when we get players who are not afraid to lead we get excited. During our Vegas camp there were a few great leaders and it all started with Maleah stepping out and being the first to be vocal. It was a little difficult in the beginning to get the campers talking, they were a little shy at first but they warmed up as the camp went on. Maleah on the other hand seemed comfortable from the beginning. During drills she was one of the first ones to step up and demonstrate for her peers. When we would ask them to cheer their teammates on, her voice was the first one to be heard. Even when she was not on the floor she was on the side lines encouraging her teammates. She was energetic and ready to put in work. As a former player and current coach for S4TS, one of the things I talk about is communicating on defense. During our two on two, three on three and five on five scrimmage we encourage the campers to constantly talk, sometimes it can be a challenge to get them to be vocal, it normally takes one person to kick it off. Maleah was the camper to set the tone, she was very vocal and worked extremely hard on both ends of the court. She got her teammates pumped up and encouraged. We love having campers like Maleah. She came to camp ready to work , lead and impact those around her. After camp, I got to sit down with her and ask her a few questions.
When did you start playing basketball?
It was kind of on and off, I started when I was like 10 and then I took a couple years off. I came back when I was 12, I was in middle school. I played all throughout middle school and now I am in high school playing.
Why did you take a couple years off?
I use to play soccer. I played the couple years I took off but ended up hurting my knee. I then decided that I did not want to do that anymore. I tried out for it my 6th grade year and did not make it. I got discouraged and thought that maybe I should just go back to playing basketball.
Why did you start playing basketball?
My dad. I use to play soccer but then it got boring so I started playing basketball. We use to go to the park and be out there for hours, it was really fun. I started playing AAU, I started out playing with boys at first and that was fun. I enjoyed being the only girl out there. From then, we just stuck with it.
What do you love most about the game?
Defense. I like the thought of someone being scared to go against me because I am talking or moving really fast.
Where do you see yourself after high school?
I want to go to college. I want to go to NYU or Syracuse and play basketball.
What is something that motivates you to play?
Personal drive. I like to stand out and be the only girl that works really hard. I love to be really good on defense.
How do you balance school and basketball?
Student athlete, student always comes first in my house. In elementary school , I did not get A’s , I was a C student. When middle school happened, I knew I really wanted to go to college. Having bad grades just is not a good feeling. If I have a bad day at school, I use practice to release the stress. After practice, I come home, shower and then do my homework.
When you attend college, do you know what you want to study?
Yes. I want to be a Psychologist.
What is something that you do to prepare yourself for a game?
Motivational speaking is big for me. The whole car ride to my game we listen to Eric Thomas and I also listen to really hype music. When it’s time to get out on the court, I take a deep breath and start cheering on my teammates. I feed off of everyone else.
How often do you work on your game?
The season just ended so I am doing a lot of physical therapy, that is 3 times a day. On Saturday and Sundays, it’s all basketball. After school, If I don’t have anything I go to the gym.
What is something that you eat before a game?
Fruit. We always go to Alberstons and get a big fruit bowl.
Who motivates you and why?
My dad. He tells me to trust myself, if I feel like I struggled in a certain area he tells me to go work on it. He knows my limits, he knows where to push me and where not to push me. He is just a really good backbone to have.
What is something that your dad says to you, that sticks with you?
He always says, “You know what to do. You do not have to think about it, just do it.”
What is something you would want to tell someone coming after you?
Stand out. People in high school do not want to play any sports because they want to go chill with their friends. They are going to be there, there is always seasons for stuff, if this is your season to get better and you want to do something, do that. Stay true to you, don’t follow the crowd. It is okay if you don’t go out and decide to chill at home. Don’t get lost in the crowd.
How does Skylar inspire you?
She works really hard and she is humble, she is a real person. When she talked about getting over obstacles , that really stuck with me. That is big.
I had such a great time talking to Maleah, at the end of our conversation I was inspired by some of the things she said. She is very wise and grounded, her future is bright and we are excited to see where she ends up after high school. Thank you Maleah and family for attending S4TS 2017, it was a pleasure having you. Keep up the good work, we hope to see you back next year.