The future of teen basketball sensation Shyla Heal will take the next step on Friday, where the 19-year old is likely to be taken in the first round of the 2021 WNBA draft.
The Townsville Fire point guard is tipped by many pundits to go in the top 10 and possibly in the top five.
The daughter of four time Olympian and Boomers legend Shane, Heal had a strong 2020 WNBL campaign with the Fire, winning the league’s Youth Player of the Year award and adding to her already impressive credentials.
Heal finished the season averaging 16.7 points per game (Top 5 in the league), 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game as she led the Fire to a grand final appearance.
The teenager saved her best performances for the big games, nailing 30 points, seven assists and four steals in a semi-final loss to Southside Flyers. She backed this up with 28 points, five rebounds and two steals in a preliminary-final victory over Melbourne Boomers which saw the Fire make the decider, where they ultimately went down to the Flyers.
Heal has already represented Australia at junior levels, collecting a number of team and individual awards, and last July was named in the Opals 23 player squad in preparation for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
It’s been a stellar ride for the youngster, who first played in the WNBL as a 14-year-old. She chose not to play college basketball and rejected big money overtures from Europe last year, to allow her body to develop professionally at home in preparation for what is expected to be a long career overseas.
Opals legend Michelle Timms and current WNBA stars Liz Cambage and Leilani Mitchell have all thrown their support behind the teenage who many tip will be one of Australia's most recognisable sports starts in the coming years.
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