Maya Calder doesn’t have anything to hide.
As a rising basketball standout at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Maryland, among the lofty ambitions for the junior forward/center is plain and simple: earn an athletic scholarship.
Given the success on the court Calder has enjoyed since coming to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica some seven years ago, the possibility exist that this hoops prodigy appears well on her way to putting her immense skills on display at the collegiate level.
Entering her third full season at NCA, Calder played an integral role for a Lady Eagle team that produced an impressive postseason run last year en route to a 25-9 finish. In addition, NCA finished the year ranked No. 6 overall in Maryland, according to Maxpreps.com.
For Calder, she enjoyed a stellar sophomore campaign for coach Henry Anglin’s squad, considering she recorded a double-double in nearly every contest.
The team’s second tallest player behind senior Mikiyah Croskey, the 6-foot, 16-year-old Calder averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists for the Lady Eagles, who won 11 of 13 games to end the season.
“My last season was good and I always try to make every season better than the (previous one),” said Calder, assessing her overall display as a sophomore. “I practice four days a week in the offseason and practice five days a week during the season. My strength as a player is that I’m very athletic, a great rebounder, and a great defender.”
Some might label that which Calder has expressed as cockiness or boasting. However, to her credit, her consistency, poise, and assertiveness on the court consequently have drawn the attention of a slew of college scouts.
According to Calder, she has fielded letters of interest from several major Division 1 schools, mostly notably, the University of Minnesota, Jacksonville University,
Hofstra University, Robert Morris, St. Mary’s College, The University of North, North Carolina A&T, George Washington University, Elon University, and the University of Tennessee, among others.
That Calder has progressed considerably as a basketball player in such a brief time span since relocating to the U.S. with her mom has prompted to her uncle, Stephen Baker to assume a vital role in ensuring she garners the essential exposure in her quest to solidify an athletic scholarship.
Baker’s son, Malachi Baker, also is a rising basketball standout in the Washington, DC area and has become a fixture on the local AAU circuit.
“I first saw her interest when she first arrived in this country around 2008,” Baker said of Calder. “She began playing basketball on a team around that same time. I was excited for her as an uncle, considering that she (relocated) here from Jamaica and began playing playground basketball with little to no skills.”
As Baker tells it, what separates Calder from other youngsters with whom she plays is that she has managed to accept and embrace constructive criticism, something about which she must become familiar at the collegiate level.
“When I’ve watch her play, I’m constantly critiquing her,” said Baker, “but I am also overjoyed to see her hard work on display.”
Said Calder, a marquee player for Team Sol, her DC-area AAU squad, when asked what she’d like for college coaches to know: “The colleges that offer me (a scholarship) will be inheriting a hard-worker, a great rebounder and defender, and also someone that can put it in the basket.”
What’s so astounding for a player of Calder’s caliber is that not only has she done a masterful job of generating interest of scouts, but as it pertains to her weaknesses, she two full season of high school ball ahead of her to fine tune them.
“My weakness is probably my ball-handling,” Calder said. “But I’m not as bad, but it’s also not as great as I want it to be.”
Regardless, she still has more than enough time to progress, something she’s constant done she arrived to the states.
“In the summer, I will be at camps and I’ll have my AAA teammates (to help improve my mechanics),” Calder said. Playing college ball is a dream for me, because that’s what I’ve been working hard for every day. I’ve get in the gym since I was young just so I get a scholarship.”
Plain and simple.
With absolutely nothing to hide.
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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.