Aazh Nye had her own way of handling business on the court as a freshman when she was part of the East Lansing varsity girls basketball program.
A year away in Alabama has provided a different approach to the sport for the East Lansing junior.
Nye has returned to the East Lansing program as a more polished player and a better leader on the court. And she’s used those skills to contribute to a 4-1 start for the Trojans.
Nye, who was voted the Lansing State Journal high school athlete of the week, credits a stern coach in Alabama for altering her approach on the court and helping her mature as a player and person.
“He really pushed me hard,” Nye said. “(I realized) everything has to be earned. You have to earn your spot no matter how good you think you are. You could be the best player on the court, but when it comes to a team sport you have to prove yourself to your teammates and earn your spot out there.
“I can’t stress enough how much I grew last season as a player, as a person and also how my mental game really developed during that whole time period in Alabama. We had a coach that was really just all for the team. He really didn’t worry too much about the game. Of course winning was important, but he cared about how we developed as people. My whole game overall just improved down there. I learned a lot about teamwork, I learned a lot about attitude on the court, passion and being positive with your teammates.”
Nye, who has offers from Western Michigan and Central Michigan, has tried to use her growth to contribute in multiple ways for East Lansing. She averaged 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds last week in victories over Haslett and Everett. Providing leadership has also been something Nye has tried to do for the Trojans, especially since her twin younger sisters Aashawnti and Aaliyah are both freshmen members of the varsity squad.
East Lansing coach Rob Smith has enjoyed having Nye back in his program. He said Nye’s basketball IQ has increased and she’s started to assert herself more as a leader for the Trojans.
“She’s one of those kids that if I really had to go to war, I’d want her by my side,” Smith said. “There’s not a lot of people I can say that about. She truly is one of those kids. She’s for the team and she understands that it’s more than a game. She understands that it’s an opportunity to grow as a person to prepare for the challenges in the real world.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.