The St. Thomas University Tommies women’s basketball team has recruited a fourth player for the 2016-17 season.
Seventeen-year-old Emily Shiels attends Saint John High School and plays point guard for the SJHS Greyhounds squad.
Shiels is excited to play for the Tommies this fall while attending STU for a Bachelor of Arts degree.
“I never thought I would have the opportunity to attend such a great school and play for a great program. So it was a no-brainer,” she said.
At the first game of Shiels’ season at SJHS, Ahead coach Fred Connors approached her and asked about her plans for after high school.
“From there, Coach was consistent through contacting me and encouraging me, certain that I would be a good addition to the team,” said Shiels.
Although the commitment and intensity will be different when playing for the green and gold, Shiels said, she looks forward to the challenge. She promises to offer defensive intensity to the team.
“As a teammate, I feel I can offer a positive presence within the group. From my hunger to compete, my work ethic will show through,” she said. “On the court, my goal has always been and always will be to be the toughest defender out there and to not let myself get beat.”
Shiels feels the SJHS and STU basketball teams are similar in the way they are coached, but the skill level at university will be more of a challenge.
“Coaches choose to run offense, as well as defensive pressure. Although the commitment and high intensity will be different, I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Shiels feels she has made the right choice to attend St. Thomas.
“STU is the right choice for me because I will be able to be a part of such a close group of girls right from the get go, along with doing something I love such as basketball,” she said. “In addition, STU provides all the courses I am interested in taking (in order to) reach my career goals.”
“I’d be lying if I said I was ready or not nervous. However, I’m up for the challenge and I am ready to take on the next step,”
Her goals when playing for the Tommies are to bring something new to the team and improve as a whole, no matter what her role might be.
“An individual goal of mine will be to work my hardest and be able to prove myself in order to earn playing time,” she said.
For Connors, Shiels’ ability to defend stood out.
“Emily is a very good point guard and will help us move the ball offensively. Having played provincially, she has a very good sense of how the game is played.”
Shiels has played varsity basketball for SJHS for three years. She said she will miss it.
“High school basketball has shown to be so unpredictable and any team could have shown up to win. That was exciting on its own,” said Shiels. “What I will miss more are the girls I have created bonds with, and a friendship that will last forever.”
“I will miss (my) coach, Ms. Whilton, who I respect and appreciate very much,” she added. “She had taught us many life lessons within the game. Overall, I will miss the environment I am so used to.”
However, Shiels is looking forward to meeting the Tommies and creating new friendships along with new experiences on and off the court.
Shiels was born into basketball. Both her parents were heavily involved in coaching and refereeing. Plus, her three other siblings were involved in the sport.
“I loved it from the start and wanted to work hard to get better,” she said.
And better she got. The first year she played, Shiels received the Player Rep Basketball award for Lancaster Minor Basketball during the Atlantic Championships in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In middle school, her team won the city title and finished second in provincials. Shiels has often been named Player of the Game, but her most prized possession was when she was named Defensive Player of the Year by Basketball New Brunswick.
For Shiels, basketball has taught her respect for players, teammates, coaches and referees.
“Basketball has proved to me how much I can really put out there as an individual. I had to earn my place on the teams I have been a part of. My hard work as an individual is something I will take pride in,” she said.
Basketball has also done bigger and better things for Shiels then she could have imagined. It has created a tighter bond between her parents due to similar interests.
“I give credit to the game of basketball when times had gotten tough for me. It was, and is, the only motivator to get me up and out of bed some days,” she said.
“The game is everything to me when things are getting hard because I know I have a group of girls who will be there to support me, and in the end, that is what is most important to me to this day.”
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