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Daniels, Wheeler nominated for award

The third pair of nominees for the third annual Athlete of the Year Award come from John Essex .

One has been the stalwart of the Lady Hornet basketball squad since seventh grade while the other provided a much-needed spark as a newcomer to the sport.

The duo stands as the third of seven sets of nominees, one from each high school in Marengo County.

A different school will be featured each week until every institution’s nominees have been profiled. The 2010 Athlete of the Year will be announced June 5.

Nyesha Daniels

Class: Junior

Sports: Basketball

Athlete on Athlete: “We trust her a lot. She has a way of making eye contact and kind of telling people where to go. She can make you laugh, but she knows how to bring it and get serious.” — JEHS guard Keyandra Wheeler

Coach Speak: “She made a statement to me early in the season when we decided to shorten the clock in the fourth quarter. She asked if I would promise her that we would never do that again because every second they had on the floor together was a second of growth.” — JEHS girls basketball coach Lenoise Richey

The Skinny: Nyesha Daniels just gets it. From the classroom to the court, the junior displays versatility and leadership in everything she does. Sporting a calm, easygoing demeanor in both venues, Daniels maintains a quiet intensity that helps feed her rebound totals, which often reach the well into double digits. Still, that versatility plays in as she often takes the ball up top to calm her team down. Simply, she is the Hornets’ heart.

Keyandra Wheeler

Class: Junior

Sports: Basketball, track and cheerleadin

Athlete on Athlete: “She’s motivated, determined, energetic. When we’re sluggish, she has a way of just pushing us. On the court, she’s as serious as a heart attack.” — JEHS guard Nyesha Daniels

Coach Speak: “She still doesn’t quite know what she has. She just loves to play the game. She’s one of those that, once you tell her one time, she understands it well enough to teach the younger girls and help them. She would always echo my words and let the girls konw that we were building for next year.” — JEHS girls basketball coach Lenoise Richey

The Skinny: KeKe Wheeler has fun. She has fun on the floor and off it. And that approach really helped her as she played basketball for the first time this past year. Her trademark became a three-point shot that left nothing to be desired. And she came about the skill by realizing that beyond the arc was the only place her slight build would allow her to be open. So she decided to start drilling it from there. Sounds like fun.