Skyla Osceola is a freshman exercise and sports science major who played on American Heritage School’s varsity squad for four years. During her sophomore year, she received an All-Broward County Honorable Mention. As a senior on the squad, she averaged 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds per game.
As a freshman, how has your transition from high school to college been?
“Coming here was probably one of my best decisions ever. I know it’s pretty cliche to say that but I’m close to home and my family. I have great teammates and coaches that love me and appreciate everything that I do, so it was a great, good choice [that I made] to come here. The transition has been amazing. It was hard at first, but I just stuck to it and kept grinding day in, day out. Everything just fell into place.”
If you weren’t playing basketball for NSU, what do you think you’d be doing?
“I’d still be in school but I’d probably focus more on preparing for my coaching career and being with my family.”
How has this season been for you?
“The practices are definitely different; more intense. They [the workouts] demand everything out of you and they push you past the limits that you even set for yourself. They [the coaches] just want to make you the best player you can be. With that, I’ve had to push myself way harder than I normally would and I’m really grateful for that.
“The transition was, like I said, hard at first with learning the system and stuff like that. But I knew that if I wanted to do good, I’d have to do what my coaches asked me to do. I was going to have to grind very hard. And that’s what I did.”
You mentioned appreciating being close to your family. Do you have a big family? What are they like?
“I do have a big family. I have four brothers and two sisters and I just recently had a nephew from my sister so we’re a pretty big family. We don’t go anywhere without each other most of the time and that’s really one of the main reasons why I stayed close to them. I didn’t wanna leave them.”
What kind of music do you like listening to?
“I just like listening to music. I listen to a lot of Hillsong, Florence … I listen to a lot of music so my tastes are all over the place.”
What is your favorite course this semester?
“My favorite class would probably be ‘Prevention and Care’ because of the friends that I’ve made. They’re pretty great and they’ve really helped me stay on top of my grades in that class.”
What do you typically do before a big game?
“I like to take a deep breath and just tell myself that I need to get through this part to become that player that I want to be. I’ll pray and just ask God for guidance and advice.”
What got you interested in playing basketball?
“I started at a pretty young age but it was mainly because of my older brother and my sister. My mom and dad — they played. They’re great players as well but it was really my older brother and sister because I saw the work that they put in day in, day out as I was growing up watching them play softball and basketball. So, I knew that if I wanted to get a scholarship it was only going to be for one of them [softball or basketball]. So, I put aside softball — I hung my cleats up and my gloves and it was time to just focus on basketball. I wanted to make a name for myself beside just being my brother and sister’s little sister.”
Who would you say is your mentor or someone that’s really encouraged you?
“I would definitely say my mom on the academic side. She’s always pushed me to never settle. Even if I thought it was okay just to get a ‘B’ or something she’d be like, ‘You’re smarter than that. Strive to be great all the time.’
“Basketball-wise, it would be my dad. He pushes me past my limits all the time and he’s always willing to shoot with me even if it’s at 11 o’clock at night. He’s always been there for me.”
How has your relationship with your teammates developed thus far?
“It’s been great. I mean we’ve all had our ups and downs. No team is perfect but I wouldn’t trade any of them. They’re all special; each and every one of them in their own way. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am at the end of the season like I am right now.”
What’s been your favorite moment this season?
“I think, just the way that we all grind it out together during practices and preparing for the biggest games and stuff like that because we have to push each other and we have to make each other better. Just coming out and winning the games is a special moment because all of that hard work pays off.”
What are you looking forward to for next season?
“I look forward to getting the team closer, practicing hard every day, preparing, getting ready, welcoming the newcomers that are coming in and just getting ready to get our team to win a national championship.”
What are some of your future aspirations?
“I definitely want to try to win a national championship. I also want to make a difference by coaching in basketball after I’m done since I’ve learned so much from all of my coaches and my dad. I just want to give all of that back to the kids that are coming up.”