By Jerry Del Priore
Kiya Marquez needed to challenge herself in order to take her game to the next level. Already playing with coach Mike Lloyd with his ML Gators basketball program, Marquez transferred from a charter school in Harlem to the Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology in her sophomore year.
So far, Marquez sees the benefits of Lloyd’s tutelage.
“Coach Mike helped a lot,” Marquez said. “He’s making me into a better player. He made me into more of a guard. I was in a charter school, and there was no competition. I’d do whatever I want. He made it more structured and gave me more discipline, so I can have a better game. Someone is pushing me to do better instead of doing whatever I want.”
Now, being one of the better players on a young team, Marquez has been tasked with the responsibility of guided her teammates this season.
“I’m being more of a leader now,” she said. “I have to be a leader to help them (teammates) do more of what they can’t do.”
While the soon-to-be 15-year-old already possess a solid game, she admitted to needing some refinement on her outside shot.
“I’ve been spending some time on it,” Marquez said of working on her jumper. “ But I need to spend more time on it.”
Lloyd believes Marquez can get even more efficient at long-range shooting through proper instruction, and relentless effort, yielding more self-assurance.
“When her feet are set and she’s confident, she can knock it down,” he explained. “But we’re going to work on that to get it more consistent.”
Asked for a comparison, the first-year coach at BHSLT likened Marquez to former longtime, talented NBA point guard Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, because of her size at the guard position.
“She can get to the rim, she sees over shorter defenders, and she’s a better offensive rebounder than she gives herself credit for,” Lloyd said.
As for her versatility, Lloyd said, “In her job as a guard, she sets the table and gets everybody under control. But she’s like a combo (guard); I got her playing the 1, but she can (also) score from the wing. So, there are going to be times where I’m going to have to switch it up and have her playing different roles.”
Lloyd already sees her as a baller that teams will have to key on and defend better after the Lady Jets play them a second time. Otherwise, Marquez will have numerous scoring opportunities.
“After the first go around when we play a lot teams in our league, if they still allow her to catch (the ball) and it’s a one on one, she’ll beat them,” he said. “They’ll have to double up on her.”
Winning is one thing, but Marquez is eyeing college hoops, and, according to Lloyd, eight colleges have showed interest thus far. The five-foot-six Manhattan resident will go out on a limb by saying that a trip out of Gotham to play the game she loves will serve her well.
“I don’t want to go far, but I don’t want to stay in the city to play basketball,” Marquez explained. “I want something new. I don’t want to say in the city. It’s kind of boring.”
The Lady Jets open their PSAL basketball season on Friday, December 1st at 5:00 p.m. against Bushwick Campus High School on their home court at Hebrew Educational Society in Canarsie.