Maple Grove's Prep Elite
Mikayla Bailey: Beyond the Numbers
In sports, stats have a way of making the world turn. Especially in high school, when athletes are auditioning to prolong their career to the college level, the truth behind a player’s talent more often than not is in the numbers. Osseo senior Mikayla Bailey breaks the mold. Individual stats are flying so low on her radar, she couldn’t even recite her numbers from this past winter. “You’d have to ask my coach,” Bailey says. “I don’t really keep track.”
Bailey, who averaged a little less than 10 points per game this year as a junior, wasn’t the Orioles leading scorer or rebounder. In fact, she wasn’t even in the top two in either category. Yet, it was Bailey who caught the eye of Minnesota Gophers coach Pam Borton, who offered her a scholarship going into her junior year. How, you may ask? “Defense,” Osseo coach Joey Waters says, “is definitely her biggest asset. In any game since her freshman year, she could guard the best player. It doesn’t matter if it’s a forward or guard, she takes on that challenge.”
As team captain, Bailey led the Orioles to a stunning 23-3 regular season record and a conference title last winter, while also leading the team in two sneaky and unselfish stats—assists (3) and steals (2) per game. “I’ll dive on the floor for any loose ball,” says Bailey, a varsity player since ninth grade. “I just love the game so much, I’ll do anything.”
But anything doesn’t include sacrificing her school work. Bailey, who battled through a challenging class schedule that included AP English and HP Chemistry, finished her junior year with a 3.4 GPA. “(Academics) always come first,” Bailey says. “I’m always challenging myself because I want to prepare myself for college.”
Waters thinks other girls will be inspired by Bailey’s path to the next level. “She works hard. She knows her role, and I think that’s good,” Waters says. “It’s been really valuable for the kids in our program to see that they can go to college and play—they don’t have to be that big time scorer to get there. I think that’s important now days.”
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