Sylacauga Star An Exciting Hoops Prospect

Shakayla Thomas from Sylacauga High School soars above the crowd on the high school basketball scene.

Sylacauga, Ala.--Heading to Orlando this week to compete with her AAU team at the Gold Super Showcase tournament, Shakayla Thomas from Sylacauga High is not only one of the top women's basketball prospects in the state of Alabama, she is one of the most talented prospects anywhere for the 2014 signing class.

After earning Class 5A All-State honors as a junior when she averaged 32 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, the six-foot Thomas said she is enjoying her time playing for the Southern Starz, a very successful AAU team that attracts top players from around the state of Alabama and surrounding states.

"We have fun playing together," Thomas said. "I like the team and how we work together."

Doug Bush, who is the coach of her AAU team and the director of the overall Southern Starz program, notes that Thomas is a major talent who can more than hold her own against any prospect in the nation.

He notes that at a recent AAU tournament in North Carolina he gave her the assignment of matching up with a player who is regarded as a Top 10 national recruit and Thomas more than just held her own. "Shakayla is such a good athlete she can dunk," her coach points out.

Thomas has been a star in Sylacauga going back to her junior high days when she got a scholarship offer from former AU coach Nell Fortner. Terri Williams-Flournoy and her staff, plus many others, have scholarship offers out to Thomas, who isn't giving clues on where she might sign.

"I haven't got real serious about looking at colleges yet," she said, noting she will do that as it gets closer to the early signing period in November. "I might sign in November, but I am not going to promise that I am doing that."

She adds that she is looking for a good fit academically and with the coaching staff, two factors that will weigh heavily into her decision on a college.

This summer she is concentrating on several aspects of her play. "I am working on getting the ball to the right people at the right time," she said. "If I do that we will have a better chance of winning games. I am also working on my shot."

A recent visitor to an Auburn basketball camp with her friend and fellow bluechip recruit Quanentria Bolton of Anniston, the pair are AAU teammates and will play together for the North squad at the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game in Montgomery on July 17th in Montgomery.

Thomas is one of those rare players who can perform effectively at any position on the court. Asked what position she prefers, she said, "I don't have a favorite spot because I am an all-around player. I just love the game of basketball."

She notes that she improved last summer and is trying to do the same thing this year. "I came a long way from my sophomore to junior seasons," she said. "I?learned new things at camps and I put that into my game for my junior season."

Asked her best attribute as a player, the rising senior said, "I make smart plays at the right time."

Thomas pointed out that her role models as players are pro stars LeBron James from the NBA and Candace Parker of the WNBA.

Bush said he really enjoys having Thomas on the Starz roster because she is a good person as well as a talented player. "It is just a real pleasure to be able to work with kids like that," he said.

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