SPRINGFIELD — Central guard Makaiya Brooks is one of the premier incoming freshmen in southwest Missouri and is poised for a big season.
A 5’10 guard who can handle the ball, rebound and get to the bucket, Brooks is known for her ability to light up the scoreboard from distance as she can shoot from 3-point range all the way out past the NBA arc.
She says she spent the offseason training, working on her game and competing in various tournaments with her grassroots team.
“This summer I was busy,” she said. “Training four or five times a week and tournaments every week. I worked the entire summer, basically.
“I’m working on footwork. Being able to slide on defense and leading someone to a certain spot. I think I can get better and ready for this season.”
Central is coming off a season in which they were 4-19 overall, but return several key varsity players, including Dasia Pence and could be poised to take a big step forward.
“My expectations are to win more than half of our games,” Brooks said. “I really hope we can come together as a family. We’d like to play hard and win.”
Brooks says Doug Shockley has had the biggest impact on her basketball career to date.
“He’s been my coach since I was little and he pushes me to be the best I can be,” she says.
A fan of WNBA forward Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks, Brooks says she tries to take various elements of her game and make them her own.
“I think I play a lot like her,” Brooks said. “I can finish, I can pass and I can play defense.”