By John Armwood III
Who could’ve ever predicted a young 14-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska, would become the talk of the town? Well, the Haywoods did, that’s who. Brooklynn Haywood was born and raised in Alaska. She began getting involved with sports around the age of four, however, she wasn’t initially introduced to basketball. She began her athletic career playing soccer, in fact, Haywood’s mother, Jennifer, started placing her in soccer clinics at the local recreation center.
She played in leagues and clinics at 30-minute intervals for the next five years, before ever picking up a basketball. At the age of nine, she began getting involved with basketball and really falling in love with the game.
“Once I began getting involved with basketball it gravitated to me more and naturally I kind of like basketball more than soccer,” Haywood stated in her Sh3GotGame interview.
How Did Brooklynn Haywood Transition to Basketball?
She began getting involved with sports around the age of four, however, Haywood explained powerfully how her father, Mark, played a huge role in her playing basketball going forward. She was handed in helping her father coach, in fact, she volunteered to be the water-boy, well in this case, water girl. However, she was around great players who played at a high level. The most popular name is a junior at USC, Allison Pili, who later transferred to Utah. She helped inspire and show Haywood she can reach greatness, as well.
“My dad was the assistant coach and I was around them all the time,” Haywood explained. “I even volunteered as the water girl just to be around them as much as possible. I slowly began liking basketball more than soccer.”
While she was a late bloomer, she admits that shooting came the most naturally to her. When one sits down and evaluates her game while she has many assets that jump off the screen, her shooting appears to be her deadliest asset. However, she loves to continue to get better and improve on her craft. In fact, the famous trainer, Chris Hansen, recently featured her on his Youtube channel and when asked about the experience, here’s what she had to say:
“It was nice to see that other girls took the game as seriously as I did. It also showed me how much better I have to get because some of these girls were extremely talented. It helped push me to a different level.”
Hard work Beginning to Pay off for Brooklynn Haywood
There’s no secret she’s become the talk of the town in Washington. Mainly, because of the immense success and hard work she’s been rewarding while playing the game of basketball. Recently, while in eighth grade she received two collegiate offers without ever playing a second of college ball. The two schools that believe in her are Southern Methodist University (SMU) and the University of Portland. One can assume, that receiving these offers will only increase her confidence and therefore make her more effective on the court.
Naturally, at the beginning of her journey like most, she based her game off of several other professionals. These professionals consist of WNBA and NBA players such as Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, Kelsey Plum, Sue Bird, and Sabrina Ionescu. While attempting to emulate these individuals she’s found immense success throughout her own journey.
Haywood’s “Sh3GotGame” Moment
While she was visiting Seattle, Washington, to visit her grandmother, she found out one of her close friends was playing in a basketball tournament nearby and naturally wanted to support her. Later, she found out while at the tournament cheering her friend on, one of the teams in her age group needed an extra player. This wasn’t the point of the trip initially, but oddly enough, she found herself on the court. Ultimately, the team she joined for the day ended up winning the tournament.
This led to her confidence growing even further and her understanding of how important she was to a team.
“I hold this moment dear to me because it was a time where an opportunity randomly presented itself, yet, I still found a way to rise to the occasion,” Haywood stated.
Even throughout her young career she still finds moments of doubt and adversity. However, she often relies on always thinking about the end goal. Ultimately, thinking big has always led her to persevere through tough times and help her achieve greatness.
In conclusion, Haywood’s future is bright and only continues to shine brighter. With that being said, it’s natural that her following begins to grow as well. Many may be following her journey, including boys and girls, which means her actions and thoughts must be calculated and taken into consideration by the larger picture. However, when asked is there any advice she’d like to offer to any boys and girls who may look up to her, she responded:
“Always stay focused, disciplined, and most importantly, never stop believing in yourself.”