Emotional leader of nation’s No. 12-ranked team ready to join 1,500-point and 1,000-rebound club. She and her twin sister are the pair to go with team’s Plum.
Maya Hood of the nationally ranked La Jolla Country Day girls basketball team near San Diego doesn’t get the hype of teammate and junior phenom Kelsey Plum, but the reality is that the 5-foot-10 senior who plays like a girl 6-foot-3 is the heart and soul of the team.
“She’s a tremendous leader, our emotional and physical leader,” said 13-year La Jolla Country Day Coach Terri Bamford of her player who is headed to the University of San Diego.
The “double-double” as Bamford calls her, or “my-oh-my” as she’s known by teammates and friends, can score and rebound as well.
Last week on Senior Night, Hood poured in 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds with three steals and two assists in a 77-25 win over league rival San Diego Horizon.
As a result of that performance, a season that shows her with eight double-doubles, and an approximate 3.3 GPA, Hood joins Plum, who won the award last year, as an ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week.
On the season, Hood has per game averages of 18.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 steals. In her four-year career at Country Day she has 1,628 points, 993 rebounds and 389 steals going into a Friday night came against arch-rival Bishop’s of La Jolla that should see her join a select few players that reach the 1,500-point and 1,000-rebound plateau.
Maya’s best games seem to come against top competition. Hood had double-doubles in a win and loss to Long Beach Poly, the loss being the only one on the Torreys’ 24-1 record. They were No. 3 in the Cal-Hi Sports top 20 this week and No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50.
Maya is considerably behind the career total of 3,252 points and 776 steals of 2004 Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year Candice Wiggins, but her career numbers are among La Jolla Country Day’s all-time leaders in points, rebounds and steals.
“Obviously, Candice was the face of our program but Maya’s right there as one of our best ever,” said Bamford, who’s won five CIF Southern Regional titles and two state championships.
The silent assassin
For those outside the California girls basketball scene that don’t know it, Maya has a twin sister, Malina, who also is going to the University of San Diego and is a key player on the La Jolla Country Day squad. Malina is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
“I’m the vocal one and Malina is the silent assassin,” Maya said. “Having my sister there is pretty amazing. We balance each other on the court and know each other so well; the twin connection.
“She’s also someone I can talk to that calms me down when I’m having a bad game and vice-versa, I’m there for her.”
There’s another twist to the story. As well as Maya and the team have done, the Torreys haven’t made it to Sacramento and the state championships in the first three years of her career. However, that doesn’t mean Hood isn’t a state champion.
In fact, as a middle blocker in volleyball, Hood was a member of two La Jolla Country Day teams that won Division IV state titles in 2009 and 2010. Last fall’s team was the runner up.
“At least I’ve accomplished that but basketball is my number one love so hopefully this is the year we do it in basketball.”
My best assets are…
“My leadership has become a real role for me that I’ve stepped into on and off the court. Next would be my defense and rebounding. Points are important but the big picture is team, team, team.”
“I love all my teammates and Kelsey? I’m so proud of how far she’s come. Having her has definitely helped my game. She looks for me so a lot of my points are off her feeds.”
Additional Coach’s comments
“A team goes as far as its leader and the kids love playing with her. She plays so hard on every possession. When Maya’s in the game I know we have a chance to win,” said Bamford, the school’s 10th-grade class advisor that also works in attendance and counseling.
Why University of San Diego?
“My sister and I wanted to play together and go to school together, but we looked at it as two individual people. USD is a great choice for both of us,” said Maya, who plans on studying something in the science field with an eye on a career in pharmaceutical sales.
The twins’ father, Alan Hood, who works for United Parcel Service, was a quarterback at Iowa State. Their mother, Karen Nared-Hood, who met Alan at Iowa State, is a scientist that was an all-around athlete in high school.
Older brother Saron Hood, who played wide receiver/defensive back on the 2007 Bishop’s football team that went 12-0, is now playing at the University of Buffalo.
Players: “The (Ogwumike) sisters at Stanford.”
Music: “Hip hop and R and B. I have a certain hip hop playlist I listen to before games.”
Vacation spot: “Brazil and Hawaii. My friend is from Brazil and she tells me about it.”
Things she looks forward to in college
“Basketball, being successful academically, and where college will take me after four years at a quality school.”
Advice to youngsters
“I work my butt off in everything I do so I’d definitely tell them whether in the classroom, taking a test, in drills, or on the court, work the hardest and get the most of your ability. Give 110 percent because it all factors into your future.”
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