Passion for game fuels Lady Chief

Published 9:01 pm Thursday, January 26, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
Passion is the ultimate drive in life. Some people desire wealth, others desire love, but for Melissa Garrett there is basketball.
The freshman basketball player for the Northview Lady Chiefs said she wants to be a professional basketball player after school. This goal is one built from passion for a game played with a ball.
This desire is like any other found in human nature. Garrett's love for the game of basketball can be seen in anything she does. The game consumes all of her free time and that is the way she wants it.
"I want to practice whenever I can and if I am not playing basketball I want to be doing something else to be active," Garrett said. "I don't like sit down all day, so anything I can do to be playing basketball is good for me."
Now a lot of parents would say an obsession with an extracurricular activity would weigh heavily on schoolwork, but Garrett does not seem to be having any trouble balancing school with sports. She posted a 3.55 GPA in her first semester at NHS.
As for where she attends school, Garrett said she likes the faculty and staff at NHS, but her favorite thing has nothing to do with the schooling part of school.
"I like the basketball program because it gives everybody a fair chance to play," she said.
With passion for a game comes dedication and head girl's basketball coach Lorenzo Jones said Garrett has the dedication to be something special for the NHS program.
"As a player she works hard, she is dedicated and she is willing to go the extra mile for the team," Jones said. "Even when she is injured she still wants to get out there and play. That shows me she is not going to quit."
Jones said her work ethic and willingness to give all that she has every single time is what he loves the most about Garrett.
"She is the type of young lady you want to build a program around and I believe she will become a great ballplayer," he said.
Garrett said she has been in love with the game of basketball since she was a young girl. She said one experience two years ago stuck out in her mind. When she was at Ernest Ward Middle School the basketball coach there told her she should participate in an after school basketball program he had.
She said she stuck with the program throughout her seventh grade year and was rewarded for that dedication even though there were obstacles along the way.
"I was the only girl with 27 guys," she said. "In one competition we had to see how many lay-ups we could make in one minute and I beat all the guys and I also won a dribbling contest we had."
This dedication and desire could be a reason for why Garrett's 11-year-old sister, Allysia Gray, looks up to her. She said she likes how her sister follows in her path and it makes her feel good to have someone believe in her.
The one person Garrett has always had believing in her was her mother, April Gray.
"My mom is not a basketball player, but she is always at my games and she wants me to do well," Garrett said. "She is looking forward to my future in basketball and she is supportive of everything I do."
Garrett said she hopes her dream to play professionally will go through the University of South Carolina. She wants to follow her idol, Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie, was a Carolina Gamecock and Garrett wants to follow in her shoes.
Garrett said the dream to play basketball professionally is her dream and she will stick with it as long as she can. The question of playing the sport past high school is answered with a resounding, 'oh yeah.'
"I want to play college ball and the pros after that," she said. "I love basketball and it is my favorite thing to do."

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