Myers commits to Alabama

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shafontaye Myers had successfully etched her name in Sunshine High School history and will now look to do the same thing at the University of Alabama after offering a verbal commitment to the Crimson Tide Thursday evening.

“That’s where you want to be. I’ve heard about it,” Myers said of the Crimson Tide program. “All the signs were there. It’s a D-I. You’ve got a possibility of starting as a freshman. You’ve got people who like your game and don’t want you to change it.”

“They really wanted her to commit this summer when we went to camp,” Sunshine head coach Phillip Wagner said. “With the speed she has, the ball control she has and the ability to score, I think she is one of the top two point guards in the state as far as ball handling and shooting. Taye is a combination of a (point guard) and a (shooting guard) with her speed and her ball handling ability. She gives defenses trouble. She is an excellent passer, a good free throw shooter and a pretty good defender. She can anticipate passes well. I don’t think there is another guard in the state who has all the qualities Shafontaye has.”

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Myers has used that skill set to lead the Sunshine Tigers to a 14-1 record entering Friday night’s contest at Linden. Through the team’s first 15 games, Myers averaged 27.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.5 steals and 2.6 assists per contest. But as much as Wagner likes the player Myers is, he is even more confident in the person the Crimson tide will be signing on April 14.

“They’re getting a very religious person, a hard worker and an outstanding competitor,” Wagner said.

Myers has competed on the Lady Tigers’ varsity team since the seventh grade when she served as the first player off the bench for Wagner’s squad. She has been a fixture in the Sunshine backcourt since the eighth grade. During her storied Sunshine career, she has made the All-Regional Tournament team five times, earned regional tourney Most Valuable Player honors twice, made the Tuscaloosa News Super 5 list four times and earned ASWA All-State honors as a junior.

With such a resume, Myers has been getting letters from programs big and small for the better part of the past two year, a prospect she admitted can quickly become overwhelming.

“It’s very tough. It’s a lot,” Myers said. “You have to focus on where you want to be. Is it close or far? Is it the best team or is it rebuilding? Do you want to play or be benched? It all boils down to where you want to be.”

In the end, Myers liked how much Alabama like her and the proximity between her home in Newbern and the Crimson Tide’s stomping grounds in Tuscaloosa did not her Alabama’s recruiting chances either.

“It helped me a lot,” she said of Alabama’s location. “I have so much support. I can come home whenever I want. It’s 45 minutes. I don’t have to go through anything alone.”

More than anything, however, Myers was drawn to Alabama because the coaching staff told her not to change the way she plays the game she loves.

“They want me as a basketball player,” she said. “The (point guard) or (shooting guard), whatever I feel comfortable at is where they want me to play. They want me to keep shooting, driving, making stuff happen.”

While she is relieved about having her college plans set, Myers recognizes areas of her game she still feels need improving.

“Defending,” the 5-foot-8, 120-pound Myers said plainly. “I need to do more of that. I feel like I need to get my man-to-man down and us my quickness on offense as well as defense, not just on one end.”

In addition to improving her game and staying on course to graduate and qualify at Alabama, Myers and her Lady Tiger teammates feel they have some unfinished business left in Birmingham after being bounced from the state semi-finals a season ago.

“It’s like a big relief because I don’t have to worry about myself. I can focus more on my team,” she said. “It’s time for us to know how it feels to win a state championship.”