Christsania McLean is hoping that her passion for basketball will eventually lead to a college scholarship. The odds are certainly in her favour, after the amazing year she has just completed.
McLean collected a couple of awards in the Girl’s U-19 League including Most Valuable Player in the finals, with 14 points and an equal number of rebounds. She was the Rebound Champion with 142.
She also clinched the much-sought-after Woman of Valour title and placed second in scoring with 115 points and third in the line up for MVP in the regular season with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
It was a family affair as with her sister Christina, the McLean siblings took the most titles in the Girls U-19 League or placed somewhere in the top three.
Christsania McLean, an 18-year-old centre who plays with Monarch, the team that took the championship for a second consecutive year, is totally psyched at being recognised for her hard work.
‘It shows that there are no limits to what a person can accomplish if they push themselves towards a goal they have set,’ she said.
‘It is good that all my hard work is being recognised. My sister and I are always at practice and we listen to the coach and execute the plays he asks us to do. I worked the hardest to get the rebound champion because getting that ball before anyone else is a great feeling,’ she added.
‘I would like to thank Coach Redver for having the confidence in me to talk and encourage the girls in the Women of Valour programme. Through him I have developed leadership skills both on and off the courts,’ she added.
Like most girls growing up in the Cayman Islands, McLean’s sporting career began with netball.
It wasn’t long before Redver Ebanks, Coach of the Women’s National Basketball spotted her playing and asked her to try out for his Women of Valour programme.
It took a little while before McLean agreed to play and she says the only reason she decided to try the sport was watching the WNBA on television.
‘You don’t see women’s netball on TV but women’s basketball is featured on television all the time either in college or professionally. So I decided I would give it a try and thought this is a sport that I could excel at. Now I love it,’ she added.
McLean says she sticks with basketball because ‘playing it puts me in a different world. I am on a whole different level than in everyday life. Playing gets me totally pumped up and makes me feel like I can be anything and do anything,’ she explains.
McLean is pinning her hopes on getting a basketball scholarship.
‘Playing college basketball is something that I want. I will be taking my game to another level and this is a sport that I will continue as I get older,’ she says.
Praising the Monarchs on their victory, the team’s coach, Ellen Downey paid tribute to McLean’s efforts both on and off the courts.
‘She is an aggressive and dedicated player who takes direction well. She is reliable and motivates her team mates to the tasks at hand. She is the captain and the team really follows her direction,’ she said.
Here is Christsania McLean in brief:
Team: Monarchs – champions of the CIBA 2008 U19 Girls League
Titles: Finals MVP, Rebounding Champion and 2008 Woman of Valour