â€œYou get out of something what you put into something,â€ says Tonysha Curry. â€œAs much as you work on your craft, thatâ€™s what youâ€™re going to get out of it. Those days when you donâ€™t feel like working and you donâ€™t feel like going in the gym to shoot, those are the days you actually get better.â€
This summer Curry has been putting in hard work as she preps to grip her hands tighter on the leadership baton come next season for DuPont Manual High School. The soon to be junior is excited to lead her team next season after having been named the sixth region player of the year last season.
â€œMy mindset going into my junior year is â€˜this is my team.â€™ It is not like scoring every bucket because we have so many weapons on Manualâ€™s team. I think my main mindset is that we must be able to use every weapon we have to kill our opponent â€“ and basically carry my team in every aspect. Defensively, I want to guard the best player on the other team and offensively, making the right passes and being smart. Thatâ€™s my mindset.â€
This summer, Curry has been playing with other elite players from Butler, Male and Ballard in AAU competition. The chemistry she has gathered from playing on Team Shively has helped her immensely.
â€œPlaying for Team Shively, itâ€™s been a great experience,â€ says Curry. â€œThis program is more family-oriented. Weâ€™ve been playing with everybody since we were in the third or fourth grade, so we have a lot of cohesiveness together.â€
Curry, who has much versatility to her game, says that she has stepped into a leadership role with Team Shively as well.
â€œThey all look up to me I feel. They always look at me as the hustle and the leader and the big sister type. If I am not working hard, then they are not going to work as hard. So I always have to be on top of my game so I can always be a good leader for the team.â€
Adrian Tillman, head coach for Team Shively, says Curry reminds him of a Draymond Green from the Golden State Warriors.
â€œIf you look at Tonysha Curry, she looks like a high Division I player. Thatâ€™s one of the reasons she is drawing a lot of Division I attention. Her height, strength and quickness you canâ€™t coach. She already has that. The biggest intangible with her is her will to win. She brings a certain amount of grit. She has some fire about her. When you build a team, you want to bring people with different attributes. She brings that fire and toughness that is contagious on the team. Sheâ€™s a basketball player. I am so glad she is on my team â€“ Iâ€™ll tell you that.â€
The relationship between Tillman and Curry has played a major factor in her development. Through the challenging stages within the sport of basketball, Curry believes she has a coach by her side who has constantly rooted for her.
â€œItâ€™s been amazing. Heâ€™s a real good coach and is very supportive. Heâ€™ll never tell you not to take a shot. Heâ€™s so encouraging, and it makes me want to give my all when Iâ€™m on the court. He cheers us on and everything.â€
Now, a full decade after she first started playing basketball in second grade, Curry has modeled her leadership after some true sports greats. Shoni Schimmel, the former UofL guard and now WNBA star, stands as a basketball icon in the life of Curry. She commends her play and profound leadership skills.
â€œI just love watching Shoni Schimmel. Sheâ€™s such a performer, but she is also a really good leader. She leads her team and is a great shooter and a good inspiration.â€
Going into her junior year at Manual, recruiting will come full circle for Curry. Attention has already come her way from Auburn, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has the aspirations to play for a major Division I college.
As a player with many teammates watching and looking up to her, it is true that the pressure can begin to weigh heavy when considering what is expected from leaders. But as genuine leaders often do, she shines most when she motivates herself from within.
â€œSomething I always tell myself in a game or workouts is â€˜youâ€™re already in pain, why donâ€™t you get a reward for it?â€™ I want to work to the point that I can say I did it. Thatâ€™s what motivates me.â€ VT