'You can't let your height keep you down'

Q&a Kelsie Singleton, Randallstown, Basketball

December 18, 2008|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

Randallstown senior point guard Kelsie Singleton is only 5 feet 2, but she plays a much bigger basketball game, leading the Rams to the Baltimore County title game last season. The glue that holds the Rams together, she averages 12.2 points, 5.5 assists and four steals. In Saturday's 56-50 win over Bowie, she had 16 points and seven assists.

Singleton, 17, plans to become an elementary school teacher and thinks about coaching the youngest basketball players. She has a 3.5 grade-point average and has an internship working in a kindergarten class at Randallstown Elementary. A member of the Owings Mills Lady Tigers Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, she plans to play in college and has been approached by some Division III scouts.

How did you start playing basketball?

I used to play outside with the boys around my way, and I asked my mom if I could play rec. She actually told me "no" because she thought I was too small, but I kept begging her and she let me play. I was about 11 or 12.

How do you overcome the challenge of being 5 feet 2 in a game full of 6-footers?

You just have to play big. You can't let your height keep you down. If you work hard, you can do well. They're so much bigger than me, so it's easier to get more steals. When they dribble, they dribble just about as high as I am, so it's easy to get underneath the ball and get more steals. A lot of them aren't as fast because they're bigger and I'm quicker.

What made your team so successful last season?

We had three juniors and two freshmen [starters], and the three juniors, we all play on the same AAU team, and the two freshmen, they played on the same AAU team; so basically everybody already knew kind of each other's games. Then when we got together, everybody worked hard and worked as a team.

What did your team learn last season that you can carry over to this one?

Last year, we learned that defense is the key to winning the game. Last year, we really struggled on defense, and this year, we're really, really, really trying to work on our defense. That's how we lost every game that we lost last year - from defense.

Do you like defense?

I like getting steals and then going on fast breaks and I can pass it or make the layup, because if you play good defense, it makes easy offense.

How did you get interested in early childhood education as a college major?

I take an internship for a kindergarten class over at Randallstown Elementary, and I like it. But I got interested in it because I worked at a basketball camp over the summer and I worked with the smallest age group, 5 to 7.

What do you like about being with little kids?

When they're that age, they actually listen. They're like sponges; they take everything in. When they get older, they're already set in their ways. You can influence them more when they're younger. You can help them out for the rest of their lives and help shape the people they're going to be.

What grade do you want to teach?

I thought I wanted to teach kindergarten, but when I took my internship, I realized that they don't get into the core stuff, like addition and subtraction, until the first and second grade, so I think I like second grade.

What are your plans for the holidays?

My family usually has Christmas at my house. Hopefully [laughs], I can get a car for Christmas, but I don't know. I'll just celebrate with my family, make dinner and stuff.

What's the best Christmas present you ever got?

When I was like 12, I just wanted a stereo and my grandmother surprised me with a stereo, and I was just so happy, because I didn't think I was going to get one. I loved that stereo, but now everybody has iPhones and I don't use it.

What's your most prized possession and why?

Probably the diamond ring my mom got me for my birthday. It's really special to me, because her mom gave her a ring on her 16th birthday and my mom said she wanted to start a new tradition. It's not the same ring. Mine is a new one, and I wear it every day.

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