‘Dream Team’ boosts Baylor women’s basketball team in practice

DREAM TEAM Baylor students from around the country came together to participate in the women’s basketball “Dream Team” tryouts on Sept. 2. The team has been selected and goes against the varsity women’s basketball team during practice. Photo credit: Meghan Mitchell

By Meghan Mitchell, Reporter

On the first Wednesday of this month, under the supervision of the Lady Bears basketball assistant coach Toyelle Wilson, 26 men fought to get a spot on the “dream team” for the Lady Bears.

The dream team is an organization made up of male basketball players who practice with the women to prepare them for the tough competition later this season.

“We are looking for roughly 10 new team members to add to our returning 15,” Wilson said. “We are looking for guys who can compete with our girls, and make them better.”

Many of the men who tried out had stellar high school careers and plan to bring those skills to the collegiate level.They intend to show and give the pressure that the Lady Bears will be seeing later in the season. The night started off with the 26 guys trying out in a circle around Coach Wilson as she told them what she was looking for.

A few minutes later, they broke off into two lines on both sides of the court to do some basic two-line layups. As good layups and passes were made, Wilson wrote down the numbers of those players.

Throughout the night both players from the men’s and women’s basketball teams stopped by to take a look at how tryouts were going. A few of the Lady Bears even pulled out chairs, scoping their competition for practice.

The men would go on to do the three-man weave, some basic defensive set-up drills, and 4-on-4 scrimmaging.

By the end of the night, the players were trying to push themselves to the limit. One even pushed so hard that he was bent over a trash can; many others were hunched over with their hands on their knees.

Both Houston junior Tyler Vintor and Pflugerville junior Joshua Wood said they didn’t perform at the highest level. Although struggling with the outside shots, Wood was happy with his post moves.

“I feel like things went good,” Wood said. “I wasn’t at my best, but I feel like I have a good shot at making it.”

Wood, at 6-foot-1, wants to match up to 5-foot-11 junior forward Nina Davis.

“I’m really excited to try and be a part of the team. I’ve heard a lot about it and I feel like I can definitely be a good addition to it,” Wood said.

Davis has dominated in the front court, but Wood may be the solution for her to get the competition she needs.

At 5-foot-8, Fort Worth sophomore Malique Ramos, a sophomore from Fort Worth who was a star point guard in high school, brings speed and awareness.

These strengths will lend a helping hand when going up against Niya Johnson, the 5-foot-8 senior guard who has had a remarkable career so far at Baylor, ranking No. 1 on Baylor’s single season assist/turnover record.

“I am excited to bring what I can to the team. I’m ready,” Ramos said.

Mount Pleasant junior Diotré Hill, a 6-foot point guard, should present a threat to Kristy Wallace, the 5-foot-11 sophomore guard from Loganholme, Queensland, Australia. While Wallace’s speed, athleticism, and outside shooting impressed fans last season, competition does not scare Hill who is used to the pressure after a solid high school career as point guard. In fact, Hill said he was ready for the challenge.

“Definitely going to be some competition,” Hill said.

“I feel like everything went well,” said Waco master’s candidate Kaylin Shillinglaw, head of the dream team. “There was definitely talent here tonight, and they definitely will be able to help our team compete in the future. We definitely found what we are looking for.”

The team was selected earlier this month and has begun practicing with the women’s team.

The Lady Bears open competition against other women’s teams in the Ferrell Center on Nov. 3.