HOUSTON — Tiffany Nicole Byrd is what one would describe as a military child.
How else to explain why she’s resided in a number of establishments across the country.
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Byrd has lived in Bartlett, Tennessee — which is the outskirts of Memphis — and Chesapeake, Virginia. Since earlier this year, she’s been a resident of Houston, where the rising basketball standout seemingly hasn’t missed a beat following masterful stints for Bon Lin Middle and Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy.
A newcomer to Houston’s George Ranch High basketball team this upcoming season, the speedy point guard figures to contribute immediately for a Lady Longhorn squad that ended the 2014-15 season having won eight of its last 12 outings to end the year with a 16-12 mark.
Known largely for her resiliency and keen ability to be a facilitator on the floor, Byrd’s ability to create her own her shot coupled with her passion for the game will almost certainly prompt scouts to inquire about her services once her prep hoops career ends.
“I’ve been playing (basketball) since I was four,” Byrd told longtime journalist Andre Johnson. “I love the sport. When I play, I don’t think of anything else when I’m on the court.”
Because passion and enthusiasm for a sport are attributes coaches can’t merely teach athletes, the admiration Byrd’s exemplifies for basketball could prove beneficial now that she will be afforded the golden opportunity to put her hoops heroics on display in Texas, where they do things bigger here.
No one, it seems, realizes this more than her mother, Tena Byrd, who served 28 years in the Navy. As she tells it, ever since she first witnessed her daughter reach for a basketball nearly a decade ago, she sensed she would ultimately blossom into an efficient athlete.
To Tiffany Byrd’s credit, she has been nothing short of impressive on the amateur hoops circuit.
“I was very proud of her and excited at the same time,” said Tena Byrd, recalling the first time Tiffany picked up a basketball at Bartlett Community Center.
As for a typical weekend, particularly as a basketball mom, Tena Byrd said that by all accounts, three words come to mind.
“Practice, practice, practice,” she said, “whether it’s going to a local, college, or NBA game. But I love to see her play, love it when she steals a ball and hits her (three-pointers).”
In her rise a basketball standout, Tena Byrd said she was mostly impressed when her daughter earned a spot on Bartlett’s junior varsity team last.
Once again, she didn’t disappoint. Instead, she made a strong case that surely, she has a future in the sports she has come to embrace.
“I was even happier to see her start (on JV),” Tena Byrd said in assessing her daughter’s play last year. I’m very happy for her. I pray that she stays focused off and on the court…prays she makes varsity. But if not, I hope she gets lots of playing time on JV.”
In addition to her impressive showing last year, Tiffany Byrd had proven to be just as effective off the court, in large part because she trained intensely under the direction of Cedric Anderson, her personal training coach. Besides basketball, she played T-ball for two-years and strongly considered soccer before deciding to settle solely on playing hoops.
“Her coaches have been very supportive,” Tena Byrd said. “I tell her constantly to get good grades, stay positive, and that basketball is a team sport. That means she is to respect her teammates because everyone makes mistakes.”
As Tiffany Byrd — who has begun to build a solid rapport with her George Ranch teammates and coaches — continues to prepare for first full season of varsity basketball, her mother, like many others who have witnessed her development as a young athlete, knows the sky’s the limit for a kid who possesses the skills to play at the collegiate level.
“Because she is a child of God, anything is possible,” Tena Byrd said. “If she gives 100 percent at practice, stays positive, stays focus, and takes responsibility for her actions and respects others, there’s no limit to where she can go.”
Regardless of where around the country this military kid resides.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.