Less than three months ago, everything was going to plan for Samiya Terry. She had just helped Wilson High to its first CIF title in girls’ basketball since 2000, and had plans to attend Cal State Monterey Bay to begin her college career this fall. Now those plans are a bit muddled after the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) announced that NCAA Sport competition by its member schools, including CSUMB, would not occur during the upcoming fall semester.
The statement went on to say that, “The CCAA member institutions will continue to advocate strongly to maintain NCAA championship opportunities for all of our student-athletes, including our fall sports, during the 2020-21 academic year and recommend competition resume when it is safe and appropriate to do so for all of its members.”
The women’s basketball season is scheduled to begin in early November, placing it in the latter half of the fall semester that runs from August 17-January 4, 2021. By the time the upcoming fall semester ends, the Otters should have been about halfway through their regular season with about one-third of their conference games already played. That means there will need to be some big changes to the 2020-21 season.
Terry said that in a recent Zoom meeting with her new teammates and coaches, she was told that other fall sports like volleyball would likely happen at the same time as basketball season. Her coach went on to explain that even though the team likely would not have a preseason schedule, there would still be a season of some kind to look forward to.
Even if a condensed season comes to fruition at the start of the next calendar year, there will be some pretty challenging scheduling issues for the weight room and the practice court with additional teams in season at the same time. Furthermore, those missed offseason workouts and preseason practices will be more detrimental for incoming freshmen like Terry, who are unfamiliar with the playbook and their teammates.
“Our coach is going to start sending us workouts on June 1, but for plays and all that, I’m a visual learner so it’s going to take me a while to figure out what’s going on,” Terry admitted. “I need the coach by my side to tell me where to go and I ask a lot of questions, so that’s going to be a little hard for me. The lines and the dots on the paper don’t help at all.”
In addition to her freshman season being pushed back, Terry’s first set of classes at CSUMB will also be online. That means her departure for the central coast has been put into question and she’s unsure of when she’ll be able to arrive at her new school.
“I don’t know yet, but now it seems like I’ll be staying in Long Beach a little longer,” she explained. “I’m thinking about taking some summer classes at LBCC to get ahead. Trying to get some of my freshman classes out of the way, but I’m still thinking about that.”
Terry said she already had her shopping list ready to go for her dorm room and was excited to room with fellow Long Beach native Emily Perez from St. Anthony. Those plans have been put on hold, but she is still focused on her goals as a basketball player. Terry has been waking up at 6 a.m. every day to run two miles and has been working on her core strength and dribbling while stuck in quarantine.
Terry admits that her personality doesn’t really fit well with staying isolated. Her outgoing, fun-loving nature feeds off interaction with others, which is hard to come by these days.
“I’m an extrovert,” Terry stated simply. “This quarantine is tough, because I need to talk to people. I’ll randomly go up to people and ask them how they’re doing and start a conversation. I need that in a day, I can’t just talk to the same people. I would say I get that from my mom, she’s very out there too.”
These days Samiya’s mom, Sheena, brings the reality of the coronavirus home with her every day. As a nurse at a convalescent home in Gardena, she’s exposed to the front lines of the pandemic every day.
“Every time she gets home we have to barricade her outside,” Samiya said. “She strips outside and then runs in her room to change, then we have to put her clothes in a bag.”
That reality has shown Samiya multiple sides of the pandemic and the quarantine. As Wilson’s senior class president, she serves as a role model for the Class of 2020, but in such difficult and unprecedented times, how can I high school senior have the right words to share?
“Since I’m the senior class president, everyone is looking to me for positivity,” she explained. “I’m trying to give it to them, but I am in the same boat as you guys. I don’t know what to say or what to do. It’s kind of hard.”
Once she has her chance to play basketball again, Terry has her sights set on making an immediate impact at Cal State Monterey Bay. Despite missing out on valuable preseason practice with her new team, the All-CIF forward hopes to earn a starting spot with the Otters once the season starts, whenever that may be.
“That’s still my plan, because we’re all in the same boat right now,” Terry said. “I feel like whoever works the hardest is going to be in the starting position. You’re going to know who the true basketball player is when we all show up again.”