Albany basketball player Haley Meyers has signed to play with Holmes Community College but she’s not letting things rest there. She knows there’s more work ahead, and she’s embracing it.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve always dreamed of being this good athlete in this sport that I love so much, and to have success was what I wanted to do,” Meyers said. “I worked hard in my high school years in order to get to where I am right now with signing, but to me, it’s like I’m starting all over. I’m going on a new team. I have to work my butt off this summer and prove to my coaches that I can be something that they saw me as in high school and that I could put it better (effort) in college … Because to play at the college level, I’m going to have to become a better athlete in my sport in order to keep with everybody, and I understand that.”
That’s not something that’s surprising to Albany coach Stacy Darouse.
“Hard work and work ethic, Haley is not a stranger to,” Darouse said. “She’s been doing that since long before coming into high school. I have no doubt in my mind she will do what she needs to do to get herself the playing time that she wants, and I have the utmost confidence in her ability to do that.”
Meyers, who was a first-team All-District 8-3A selection as a senior, already had to put in some work to get to this point after tearing two ligaments in her ankle during warmups before Albany’s regional playoff game against Pine Prairie.
“We taped her up, and she made it through,” Darouse said. “She was nowhere near 100 percent for our third playoff game, but there was never a question of whether or not she was going to play. We had the cryo machine on her 24 hours a day. We taped her up, and she did the best she could. That’s the kind of player Haley is. That’s the kind of guts that she has. I never even questioned whether she was going to play or not because I knew what she was going to tell me. There was no way you were going to keep her off the floor that night.”
Fortunately for Meyers, the injury didn’t require surgery.
“I just stayed in a boot for three weeks, and then I went to physical therapy for three weeks,” Meyers said. “I had doubts in my mind (about playing basketball) as I was going through the process because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.”
Things worked out for Meyers, who said Holmes Community College learned of her through her Next College Student Athlete account and began exchanging emails. In the meantime, Meyers said she kept her options open.
“I was looking at all kinds of other colleges, but none of them when I visited them or I was trying out for them or just talking to them over the phone … none of them felt like home when I visited them,” Meyers said.
That changed when, Meyers’ mother, Kristi, got a call from Holmes asking her to try out for the team the next day. She said the tryout went well, and that was affirmed when she got a call from the Holmes coaches.
“They were like, ‘We’ll call you Monday or Tuesday,’” Meyers said. “It was a Friday when I tried out, and they called me an hour after telling me that they wanted me to sign with them and that they were giving me a full ride. Me getting a call right after was like, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. This is what I wanted, and it’s not far away from home. I can still come home if I need to, and it’s perfect where my family can come up and watch me play and everything.’”
Holmes coach Jamilah Johns Andrews told Meyers what caught their eye during the tryout.
“(She told me) that I was really hard-working and she could tell that I went straight forward and I got to the point, and I never gave up and I went 100 percent the whole time,” Meyers said. “She told us, ‘OK, there’s no jogging. When you go off the floor, you’re not going to jog. You’re going to run to me, and you’re going to run to wherever the team is or whatever drill we’re doing,’ and I did that.”
The other plus is Meyers is looking to major in physical therapy, and she said Holmes has that covered.
“Just the atmosphere around basketball and the school is really amazing, and it’s a really good school, too,” Meyers said.
Meyers said she continues working on her basketball skills and will start doing cross fit workouts to prepare for the upcoming season.
“I know that I’m not going to go in and I’m going to be this amazing player, which I can be, but in order for me to do that, I have to work hard to get to where I want to be at,” she said. “Not only that, I’m going to have all these other players that I’ve never played with before, and I’m not going to know how they play. In order for me to get ahead of them and to be at their level … I’m going to have to work hard, so I know where I (am) as a player …”
Darouse is looking forward to seeing Myers grow as a player as well.
“I just think that Haley has not shown her best yet,” Darouse said. “I think Holmes may see the best of Haley. It’s exciting when a kid that’s been around basketball that long and still has potential and room for improvement and wants to improve and wants to get better. As her coach, to see her grow into that mature player that she has become is exciting.”