Milton’s Alexander creates hoop-ala

Kayla Alexander (Photo: Michael Okoniewski/SU Athletics Communications)

Kayla Alexander (Photo: Michael Okoniewski/SU Athletics Communications)

Kayla Alexander will go down as one of the greatest players to don the white and orange of Syracuse University. She will now take that success and translate it to the next level after being selected in the Women’s National Basketball Association Draft this week.

With the eighth overall pick, the San Antonio Silver Stars drafted the 6-4 centre from Milton who grew her game north of the border before taking it south to join the Orange.

Alexander has come a long way since being identified by the Canadian women’s high performance program shortly after one of her teachers encouraged her to try basketball when she was in Grade 8 in Barrie. In high school, she spent time with the Centre for Performance-Ontario program and Canada Basketball’s National Elite Development Academy in Hamilton where she worked diligently to refine her natural abilities and translate her size and coordination into basketball skills.

Canada Basketball’s Director of Women’s High Performance, Denise Dignard, has seen Kayla’s growth and is proud of her progression.

“We are very happy to see Kayla achieve this milestone in her basketball career. She is a truly amazing young woman with tremendous work ethic and full commitment to excellence in all that she does, so this selection is very well deserved. The sky is the limit for this young women and I’m excited to see her continued growth as she begins her professional basketball career.”

Alexander’s experiences with Canada Basketball’s junior national teams and last summer with the development national team allowed her to apply her skills on the international stage, matching-up against some of the best players in the world.

She wrapped-up her storied career with the Orange in March and her numerous school records speak to the time, effort and dedication that she has put into the sport she loves. This season, she became the first player in school history to eclipse the 2,000-point plateau and leaves the school as its all-time leading scorer with 2,024 career points. Just as important was her responsibility to her own end of the court having compiled a school-record 350 career blocks.

Alexander’s impact on the National Collegiate Athletic Association season could be felt throughout the association. Teams focused on her; coaches applauded her. Her senior year earned a nod to the All-Big East First Team, as well as an All-American Honorable Mention. With her selection, she set one more record a month after her season concluded: as the eighth overall pick, she is the highest Orange to have been selected in the WNBA Draft.

While Alexander’s performances on the court have earned her awards and accolades, it is the character and personality she displays off-the-court which has endeared her to the community. Her time at Syracuse did not begin and end in classrooms and gyms. For her four years there, Syracuse University was her home and she took the time to share the pride and love she felt for her surroundings. She volunteered for the university and led school tours to showcase her side of Syracuse to prospective students looking for a new home.