Before announcing her college choice, Milwaukee King girls basketball senior Sydnee Roby spoke at length about her journey to becoming one of the nation’s top recruits.
Then she unzipped her Generals warmup jacket to reveal an orange shirt with the logo her destination, the University of Miami.
“Before I started playing basketball, I was actually playing tennis,” Roby said in front of a sizable audience at the King gymnasium. “I was convinced I was going to be the next Serena Williams.
“I went from tennis to soccer to volleyball. Then I hit basketball and it was just this light bulb. It was something that just clicked and I said, ‘Yes, I want to do this.’ “
Roby was joined at the podium by her parents and she pointed to her mother as a big source of inspiration.
“Everything’s she’s done has been passed down to me,” Roby said. “So I had a road map to make it to where I am right now.”
Essie Washington played college basketball and Grambling and Howard. She also had a stint as a professional player for the Virginia Wave in the early 1980s in the defunct Women’s American Basketball Association.
She was Roby’s first coach.
“Mother-daughter fights,” Washington said of schooling her daughter on post moves. “When they get to a certain age, they feel they don’t need to listen any more.”
King coach Craig Machut has seen Roby evolve as a player and a person since arriving at the school. She was an instant starter as a freshman.