Rookie athlete dominating basketball


Nick Wood

CALLING THE SHOTS: Anderson attempts to block her opponents lay-up after a lost rebound. The Bulldogs kept a steady lead all game and won a close match-up against Hays with a final score of 47-44.

Kate Davis , Dispatch Reporter

Freshman Nyla Anderson makes the girls varsity basketball team with college potential

Breathing heavily, Nyla Anderson glances up at the scoreboard mid-game. 45 to 43. Bowie is behind two points with 35 seconds left in the game. Refocusing on the game, Anderson runs up the court and passes it to her teammate, hoping she’ll make a game winning basket. Following the ball into the hoop, listening to the end game buzzer, Anderson exhales a breath of relief, realizing they just won the game. 

A freshman, Anderson is experiencing the glory, and the pressure, of being a varsity girls basketball player, a year or two earlier than most athletes. 

“It was kind of scary at first,” Anderson said. “But I got used to it and sometimes I have to remember that I’m a lot smaller and less experienced but I don’t let that stop me.”

Being the young rookie player on a varsity team can be difficult, and Anderson has had her share of these challenges and setbacks.

 “It was really scary,” Anderson said. “I was really nervous and I didn’t know what the other girls would think of a freshman playing with them.”

Despite the pressures of being a newcomer onto the team, Anderson’s coaches believe that she has become a huge asset to the team and will improve in future seasons.

“I think she’s done pretty well. The team trusts her as a freshman,” varsity girls basketball head coach Vickie Benson said. “That’s the hardest thing to do, to be a point guard on a varsity team of older kids and she’s earned that trust and respect from them.”

Anderson’s teammates also attest to her success on the team, which has aided the team’s notable performance throughout the season thus far. 

“Coming in as a freshman is hard as is, but she stepped into a huge role for the team and really gave it her all,” Anderson’s teammate Emma McCarthy said. “Nyla is very athletic and has great communication skills both on and off the court she’s definitely had her share of clutch moments and I love being her teammate to see it all.”

Anderson has been interested in basketball since she was young, following in the footsteps of her parents, both of which have largely inspired and motivated her love for the game.

“I let her know as much as possible that if she cleans the streets you make sure you’re the best at cleaning the streets,” Anderson’s dad Roderick Anderson said. “I tell her she should always have passion and pride in what she loves to do. She hates to lose and I love that about her, but when she does lose the first thing she has to tell me is what she learned from losing. Some people feel like they fail when they lose. We don’t fail over here we learn.”

Her ability to learn from mistakes is vital to Nyla’s basketball performance, significantly helping her improve as a player, working to strengthen her shortcomings after each game, practice, and scrimmage. 

 “She was hungry to learn,” Benson said. “She’s always asking questions and really, really wants to get better.”

A struggle for Nyla during this rookie season has been becoming a leader on and off the court according to Benson, which is essential to be able to play at the next level, especially in college.

“Nyla has an old soul and a strong will. She’s becoming more of a leader everyday,” Roderick Anderson said. “She’s been leading by example for years. The next step for her is to become a vocal leader, uplifting peers positively as well as herself.”

Nyla is working hard, practicing every day to develop the skills she needs to play college ball post-graduation, when she hopes to potentially play for the University of Texas, where her dad went to school.

“She’s athletic and quick and fast but needs to get more physical to play at the level she’s going to play at,” Benson said. “And then for her future beyond Bowie obviously I want to help her be well-rounded and have a chance to play at the next level.”

Though the road to such high level basketball is difficult, Nyla has reason to believe she’s capable of achieving success at Bowie and on a college level. 

“I won’t quit,” Nyla said. “I push through. I try to push through things as best as I can.”

Nyla’s coaches, teammates, and parents also trust that she will continue to work hard to achieve her goals of playing college ball, expressing their excitement for her future. 

“Nyla has a passion for life and everything she puts her mind and heart into. As a kid she used to get so mad at me when I would tease her about beating her,” Roderick said. “That’s when I knew she was passionate about winning at everything in life. I have no concerns about Nyla playing basketball. She has a tremendous work ethic and is extremely coach-able. I can only hope that she stays healthy and plays the game of basketball the way she was taught.”

During Bowie’s basketball season, the team has won 15 games and lost 17. With playoffs coming soon, Nyla hopes to help her team in any way she can and practices often to do so.

“I practice a lot after school and during the weekend so I don’t really have time to hang out with my friends as much as I used to,” Anderson said. “I stay up pretty late to get homework done.” 

Throughout her years of playing basketball, Nyla has developed a strong mindset to help manage the pressure that comes with being on a varsity team, and advises others to acquire the same unwavering mentality.

“Don’t be scared; don’t get in your head,” Anderson said. “Just do what you know how to do best and just communicate.”