West Scranton’s Destiny Jefferson confesses that she wasn’t such a great basketball player back in eighth grade, when she and close friend and Scranton guard Ciaira Loyd first met. My, how times have changed as she comes off scoring her 1,000th point just 10 days ago, and begins to prepare for a college career that includes playing for Division II West Chester University.
When you were in eighth grade, did you ever think basketball would be the driving force that it is? Playing in college wasn’t even in my mind when I started high school. I was just playing for fun. When Phil (Odom) or John Jezorwski, the Holy Redeemer coach, asked me to play, I didn’t know what AAU was. They just told me I was playing basketball, and I love basketball, so I said, ‘Oh, I’ll play.”
What was it like last week, playing against Scranton and their best player and your good friend, Ciaira Loyd, in that setting in front of a crowd like that? Playing Bird is always great competition. She’s a great guard, one of the best guards around here. Getting a chance to play her and not be on her team is something different, but I like playing her. She’s so hard to guard and she’s so good.
How did you become so close? I knew Bird since eighth grade. We played in the Holy Cross league together. I was terrible, she was really good. We weren’t really that close back then. Then we started playing AAU together. Last year, we were roommates, so our bond started to grow, she was the 1-guard and I was the 2. It was fun playing with her. She’s so exciting.
Tell me one thing she does that makes you shake your head in disbelief. Her crossover dribble gets everyone, everytime, and you never know when she’s going to shoot the ball. She’s just so fast.
Who’s your funniest teammate? Nevaeh Ross. She’s so funny. She says things under her breath on the court and she thinks no one hears her. We’re like, “Nevaeh, we hear you.”
Biggest improvement by a teammate from last year to this year. Kaila O’Neill. She’s been shooting the ball really well and playing really good defense. I think she’s really improved a lot.
Where do you hope basketball to take you down the road? I hope I have a big impact at West Chester University. I hope I can make the coaches proud and play to my fullest potential.
Have you decided upon a major? As of right now, I’m thinking of physical education or athletic training.
Would you like to coach someday? I would love to coach. Just being around coach (Leo) Ciullo, coach (Maureen) Kenny, Phil Odom, my AAU coach, just makes me love the game even more. They have so much passion for the game. I want that same thing.
Toughest gym you’ve ever played in. Honesdale, it’s smaller than our gym. It’s tight in there.
Best opponent you have faced in an AAU tournament. Kayla Agentowicz (of Lakeland). One of the best guards in this area. She’s a tough defender. It’s hard to get by here.
Other that Ciaira Loyd, opponent you wish was a teammate. Maya Cornfeld of Holy Redeemer.