For Canada’s Shy Day-Wilson, success with Duke basketball is just the beginning

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The arrow is pointing up for Canada’s Shy Day-Wilson.

She was named her convention’s freshman of the 12 months whereas enjoying for the esteemed Duke basketball program final 12 months.

The Toronto native then starred at a global U-23 match in her hometown over the summer season, serving to Canada roll to gold.

At five-foot-six and sometimes ignored — metaphorically and actually — it was, by all accounts, a monumental season for Day-Wilson.

Yet Duke head coach Kara Lawson stated her Canadian start line guard is just scratching the floor.

“I do not know that issues have clicked but for her. And what I imply by that is I feel there’s nonetheless numerous room to develop,” Lawson stated. “I imply that as a praise to Shy. She has a excessive degree of talent, a excessive degree of competitiveness. She actually, actually needs to win.”

Day-Wilson, 19, led Duke in factors per sport (12.7), and assists per sport (3.7) in her first season with the Blue Devils, however the workforce fell wanting advancing to the NCAA match.

Her sophomore season begins on Monday with a go to from in-state rival North Carolina A&T.

Lawson stated she expects Day-Wilson to enhance just by advantage of being extra settled into life as a university scholar, having adjusted to being away from dwelling and juggling tougher courses alongside with basketball.

Day-Wilson, although, would not plan to vary her mindset.

“I’m not likely too frightened about what I did final 12 months. It’s just that it issues now. Like this is current. So it is just me staying locked in and just me conserving the similar starvation,” she stated.

Day-Wilson goes up for a layup throughout the Globl Jam match in Toronto. (HO-Globl Jam/The Canadian Press)

Teeming with confidence

Day-Wilson first picked up a basketball throughout an after-school program at the Falstaff Community Centre close to the hardscrabble Jane-and-Finch intersection.

She says it was love at first dribble. Elsewhere on that courtroom, Day-Wilson’s godfather Patrick Shaw and one other coach sighted that insatiable urge for food — alongside with a heaping facet of potential.

“They just got here to me. They’re like, ‘Man, you bought it.’ I ended up staying in the health club ‘until previous my bedtime, you recognize? And, they just stated, like, I had a great work ethic, and I did not even have any talent at the time,” Day-Wilson recalled.

It was round Grade 6 when Day-Wilson first took over a aggressive sport, wherein she stated she “gave the enterprise” to a gaggle of gamers that had been completed school and enjoying professionally abroad.

“And then I had a sport the place I ended up with like 30 factors. Plus it got here all the way down to the final shot,” she recalled in one other occasion. “I’m like, yeah, I’m prepared for this. It was an enormous moment. And I used to be just like, there’s numerous instances in my life the place that occurred. So I’ve type of been at all times prepared. And I feel Patrick over the years ready me.”

Shaw shared Day-Wilson’s confidence. First, he enrolled her in a league with boys, which Day-Wilson — who began on her workforce, a lot to the chagrin of some mother and father — stated solely elevated her conviction in her sport.

When that grew stale, Shaw shaped a prep workforce known as Sisters Keeper for Day-Wilson, who additionally went on to play at Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto.

“I stated basketball modified my life, however [Shaw] additionally modified my life as a result of he just gave me an opportunity and he believed in me from day one. It’s like no higher feeling than anybody actually making an attempt to push you to your highest potential. And he knew what I used to be able to doing and I’m doing it now,” Day-Wilson stated.

Rapid national-team rise

Day-Wilson did not make her national-team debut till the Under-19 World Cup in 2021, the place she emphatically launched herself by main the workforce with 18.1 factors and 5.7 assists per sport en path to a fifth-place end.

The outburst promptly purchased Day-Wilson a spot on the U-23 workforce a 12 months later. Once once more, she performed a key function with 19 factors and 9 factors in the gold-medal victory over France. It was her first time enjoying basketball at dwelling since earlier than the pandemic.

Canada’s U-23 head coach and senior workforce assistant Carly Clarke known as Day-Wilson a “enjoyable” participant to work with.

“She is considered one of the smaller gamers on the flooring, however you would not understand it. She’s fierce, she’s inventive. And she will be able to go create one thing for herself, create somebody one thing for another person and [she] is not afraid of any problem or matchup,” Clarke stated.

Day-Wilson did not be a part of the senior workforce throughout its current fourth-place end at the World Cup, however she might now have her sights set on the 2024 Paris Olympics after getting her ft moist the previous two summers.

“It was a terrific feeling and I’m going to sit up for doing it over again,” she stated. “But it is just giving folks confidence like regardless of the place you come from, you can also make it from wherever.”

She says her final objective in basketball is to play in the WNBA, to “maintain doing what I like” and to “personal an enormous home in the future.”

‘She just needs me to be nice’

For now, at Duke, she’s enjoying alongside fellow Canadian Emma Koabel, a freshman from Port Colborne, Ont.

“That’s my little sis,” Day-Wilson stated. “I look out for her. It’s type of like a mentor vibe. … And she’s in the similar place I used to be in final 12 months. So it is just me just giving her a couple of pointers, a couple of motivations to just maintain her going.”

As level guard, Day-Wilson’s largest step in her sophomore season shall be integrating the many new gamers Duke introduced in because it seeks a return to March Madness.

The expectations from Lawson, then, have solely elevated.

“She’s exhausting on me. She’s actually exhausting on me, however she just needs me to be nice,” Day-Wilson stated.

If her current trajectory is any indication, Day-Wilson is up for the problem.

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