Could Norcross freshman sensation Diamond DeShields be the next Maya Moore?
DeShields, the daughter of former major-leaguer Delino DeShields, has been selected as Georgia’s lone representative for Parade Magazine’s All-America high school basketball team, which will appear in Sunday’s AJC.
“Wow, I had no idea, that’s really cool,” said DeShields, who turned 15 years old earlier this month. “That wasn’t one of my goals, but it motivates me and lets me know I’m doing some of the right things.”
The national honor completes a mind-boggling varsity debut for DeShields, who averaged 17.7 points and 10 rebounds while leading Norcross to the Class AAAAA state championship last weekend.
“I think it’s an incredible accomplishment to make All-America as a freshman,” Norcross coach Angie Hembree said.
Ironically, Hembree also had the opportunity to coach Moore for two years at Collin Hills. Moore, who is a junior All-America guard at UConn, is the most accomplished girls basketball player in Georgia history.
“Maya was an incredible young woman, and just the total package — as far as an athlete, player and person,” Hembree said. “Comparisons aren’t really fair.
“I would say that (DeShields) is as athletic as Moore, but that she is going to have to hone her skills a little more. Again, it’s not fair to compare them, but Diamond is a heck of a player all into herself.”
Moore stands 6-feet, while DeShields has already had a growth spurt to put her at 6-2. DeShields posted double figures in both points and rebounds in more than half of Norcross’s games this past season. DeShields says she does not know Moore personally, but she talked over the phone with her earlier this season, with Moore encouraging her by saying “(Hembree) will push you hard, but it will be worth it in the end.”
“The biggest thing will be Diamond’s work ethic,” Hembree said. “That was the big thing about Maya. She was tremendous, working hard and caring about all the people around her. She got more excited about an assist (to a teammate) than she did about scoring.
“She was a student of the game, and that is something that Diamond is becoming.”
DeShields is one of three celebrity daughters on Norcross, along with Briana Jordan (former MLB and NFL player Brian Jordan) and fellow freshman Kaela Davis (NBA’s Antonio Davis).
“I think they are all tired of hearing about that,” Hembree said with a laugh. “They are all going to make a name of their own.”
Is DeShields the best girls basketball player in Georgia? “I think potentially she could be the best player in the state. I don’t think she is now at all … no,” said Hembree, who listed about 10 of the state’s top prospects, including Southwest DeKalb’s Kayla Lewis (signed with Florida) and Chattahoochee junior Erika Ford (committed to UGA).
Who do you think is the state’s best? Please state your case and post below.
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