Jayda Holiman, McAlester, is the winner of the Player of the Year award

Apr. 15—Jayda Holiman looked around the gymnasium she has called home the last two seasons and smiled.

McAlester’s senior Lady Buffalo made many memories during her tenure. She was a key member of the state championship team last season and took on the role of floor manager this season.

“It was incredible. Holiman said that the senior year taught him how to be a good leader. “Coach Owen taught me how to look at the game in a different way and made me a better leader.

“It’s not just basketball,” she said. “Higher IQ. Just being a point-guard and knowing what calls to make, and also how to control my emotion.”

Holiman excelled in her role. She helped McAlester earn a berth at the area tournament and averaged 21.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.6 steals a game. This led to her being named 2022-2023 McAlester News Capital Girls Basketball Player of Year.

She admitted that it took some time to develop into the leader, but knew she had the chance to grow alongside her teammates.

Holiman stated, “I knew we were capable.” “When I started, it wasn’t easy because it was my first time taking on this role. Everyone told me to get ready, because it was coming. It helped me so much, I’m really grateful.”

Holiman has barely noticed the last few years, but she is just a couple of months away from her graduation. Holiman’s basketball career is still far from over. She has signed her letter of intention to play at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley located in Edinburg.

Holiman is excited about the opportunity. She continues to work on her craft.

“I’m excited,” she said. “Right Now I am working really hard and staying in the lab, to get bigger and stronger, and be prepared. I know it will be a big leap for me, since everyone else is highly-skilled. So I’m working to get ready.

Holiman says she wouldn’t be able to achieve the things she did in her career and this season if it weren’t for the network support she received from family and friends.

It’s amazing to know that, if you take a negative step, someone will be right there for you. “Coach Owen brought me into his office to have these little conversations with me. My dad is always there to remind me that I can still achieve my goals.

“And all of my family,” she added. “My mom, stepmoms and my grandmother, as well as my brothers.”

Holiman began to see her past life in McAlester as she reflected back. Holiman called her time at McAlester a blessing and said that it was people who made the difference.

Holiman smiled. “I’m going through so many memories in my head,” he said. “I would say that building real relationships with people. Making friends, best friends — like my best friend Madigan (Griffith) — building just true relationships with people. “Culture is my life, so I’d say that is what has the greatest impact on me.”

“I am always proud to be Lady Buff,” said she. It was a true blessing.

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