By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER completing primary school at St Cecilia’s, Raynell Young has taken her talent to South Florida where she’s starring both athletically as a versatile basketball and track and field athlete and academically as an honour roll student for the Attucks Middle School in Hollywood, Florida.
On Monday, she helped the Eagles girls’ basketball team win the Broward County District Championships with a 39-34 win over the Sawgrass Middle School Giants.
In that game, she finished with eight points, 10 assists and five steals. As the starting point guard, she’s averaging 15 points, 12 assists and three steals per game. In the two years she has been at Attucks Middle School, Young has helped her team to amass an impressive 25-1 win-loss record. The goal this year is to surpass last year’s second round of the Broward County Championships.
With Young as the captain and point guard, head coach Michael Jean said they can achieve their ultimate goal on Monday when the final is held. “With the way she is playing, we’re going to win the county championship on Monday,” said Jean of Young, who is also the captain of their track and field team. “There is no more expectations. We are going to win and Raynell is going to lead the team. I’ve never seen a point guard like this girl in Middle School.
“She makes every other player on the team look good. She makes sure that the kids get the ball where they are supposed too. If they are not where they are supposed to be, she alters her game to make sure that they get the ball to shoot. And she defends the ball. She play like she should be in college. Her skill level is like college and she is just in middle School (grade 6-8).”
Off the court, Jean said Young serves as the vice president of Entering Tomorrow’s Leaders, a programme that allow the eight graders to mentor a sixth grader. She’s also the president of another organization at Attucks called Future Education of America and a member of the Principal’s Honor Roll.
“She’s doing all of this and still keeps her grades up,” Jean stressed.
Young, the 15-year-old eight grader, said she’s excited about being at Attucks and the opportunity to help in whatever way she can.
“I feel great. We have a very good team and everybody play together on the court,” she insisted. “This year, I expect for us to win the championship.”
As for what she bring to the table, Young said she’s just glad to be able to make her contribution.
“As the point guard and captain, I’m just glad that I can help them,” she pointed out. “Over here, it’s a little more advanced than girls over there and we play in the gym in front of a lot of people and we play more games. So you have to go out there and perform.”
She noted that once she’s done with high school, her goal is to get a scholarship to play for UCLA and then go on to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
She’s certainly on the right path and nobody is more thrilled about her progress than her father, Cedric ‘Space’ Sweeting. He said he has been thrilled by her performance, which he felt is going top out-shine that of her older sister Cedricka, who recently graduated from college.
“They have a good basketball programme and a good academic programme,” he said. “She has adjusted very well and based on what I’ve seen, I think she will be better than Cedricka. When you compare them at the eighth grader, Raynell is better and she is bigger. I expect that she will only get better.
“I’m really proud of her. She’s a 4.0 student too. We have some decision to make because everybody in the gym is watching her play. They want her to come to their high school, but we haven’t decided on where she will go yet. She have plenty options.”
Jean said Young’s parents are the most supportive in the school, showing up “for everything she is involved in,” which is one of the reason why she has been so successful.