By John Armwood III
Tyonna Bailey, the New Jersey native, has made quite a splash on the girls’ basketball scene. She’s a junior currently at Montclair Immaculate Conception in Montclair, New Jersey. Bailey has began playing basketball at the age of nine, however, she didn’t find it enjoyable and transitioned her talents to softball. Many believe one’s calling will always lead them back down the path they were destined for. Ironically, the same sport she quit at a young age, is the sport she excels in and has become a huge part of her life. Bailey was initially inspired by her father, Tyshawn Bailey, to play the game of basketball. She often joined her father at a men’s league he played for on Thursday and Sunday evenings. Bailey emphasizes a conversation she had with her father regarding basketball that changed her perspective forever.
“Hey Dad, do you think I can be good at basketball?” Bailey asked.
“Only if you’re ready to work, I can tell you right now it’s not going to be easy,” responded her father.
However, it may come as to surprise who she finds inspiration in on the court. In the NBA, she finds similarities with Luka Doncic because of his sneaky athleticism and he’s considered a big guard. In the WNBA, she finds similarities with Mya Moore because of her shooting ability and her basketball IQ.
The moment the game of basketball changed Tyonna Bailey’s life forever
Bailey often worked out for basketball she understood there were more talented girls out there she was competing within the long run. Many would flee or let this discourage them, not Bailey. She began not only doing routine three-a-day workouts, but she’d also go home and do extra sets of pushups and ab workouts. She states how much of the process was difficult as her father eluded to much earlier one, however, she found ways to fall in love with it. So much to the point that she actually embraces the offseason.
“I find the offseason quite exciting,” Bailey stated. “It gives us an opportunity to watch the film and truly observe ourselves and find our weaknesses. The offseason offers an opportunity to build your game and elevate to the next level.”
Bailey explains last year that she broke her foot last year during the offseason. However, this didn’t hold her back from getting better. She understood she couldn’t move as effectively, so instead, she practiced shooting and increased her range significantly.
Believing in yourself can go a long way
It makes one think when Bailey breaks milestones that add to her legacy, is she even surprised. She’s joined a very short-selected group of people by recently becoming a 1,000 point scorer in her junior year. When asked about the feeling and what it meant to her, she responded similarly to something the late great Kobe Bryant would say.
“The achievement was nice, however, we didn’t win the county title yet. Therefore, there was nothing to celebrate.”
To give an insight to a little glimpse of what her mind thinks and how she visualizes her career and legacy. Bailey has endless potential and only sees her hard work continuing to pay off. Let's make this clear, as much confidence she displays on the court, she has double for her teammates. Bailey spoke about what a State title would mean to the high school and to that team. She believes counties are only the tip of the iceberg and the team has the potential to be so much more.
What more can people expect from Bailey going forward?
With the guidance of Bailey’s parents, Tyshawn and Terry, her trajectory is through the roof. They’ve instilled in her that without the grades they expect from her, she can’t participate in playing basketball. Bailey has used this idealogy and applied it to her daily routine for years. In fact, she says the amount of focus it brings her helps while being on the court. Advancing to the next level this a key component that helps separate some athletes from one another.
Speaking of the next level, Bailey is considered one of the most highly recruited girls within the state of New Jersey. Per sources, Bailey’s received a number of offers from Seton Hall, Michigan, Georgetown, Michigan State, Purdue, Tulsa, Howard, Ohio State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, DePaul, Fordham, St.John’s, Virginia, and Marquette. She’s excited because she understands her time for decision is coming closer and closer. Bailey’s excited to play at the next level and try to contribute to a national title.
A motto Bailey likes to live by is “hard works beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” She genuinely believes in the amount of hard work one puts in will eventually lead to something greater.
In conclusion, when asked if there was any advice she was willing to give to any younger baller who may look up to her or anyone who finds their stories similar, she responded:
“No matter what you do in life, it’ll never be easy. However, that doesn’t mean stop working when things get tough, always keep working. I would advise any of you to begin building a great support system and foundation for yourself,” Bailey Continued. “Most importantly, always believe in yourself no matter what. If you don’t believe in yourself nobody else will either.”