Cove’s Kayla McCloud signs to play basketball for Jacksonville Jaguars
By TJ MAXWELL
Sometimes the biggest decisions you regret in life are the ones you don’t make.
That was almost the case for Copperas Cove basketball standout Kayla McCloud who was unsure if she wanted to pursue her career on the next level.
But, after careful consideration, the post players decided to continue her career at a member of the Jacksonville Junior College Jaguars.
“It’s exciting,” said McCloud. “At first I didn’t want to do it but now I think it’s a good idea and it’s exciting just to advance myself.”
“I’ve always told her, ‘give yourself an opportunity. Don’t close the door before you try,’” Copperas Cove girls’ head basketball coach Eldridge McAdams said of Kayla’s opportunity. “Sometimes we do that in life.”
McAdams is proud to see McCloud continue her education and pursue the sport she loves.
“As a coach, you definitely want to see your kids get that education,” said McAdams. “Then to see them go to the next level to play basketball is great. That’s what you coached her in and what she’s done for so long.
“We are definitely happy for Kayla.”
Being wanted is an awesome feeling as well, says McCloud.
“It feels really good,” she said. “The coach was really excited to talk to me when I called her and it made me feel welcome and that she wanted me.”
McAdams said McCloud’s feistiness and perseverance in the paint is one of the traits that attracted the Jaguars and being a lefty didn’t hurt either.
“I know she’s going to go there and be physical,” he said. “Kayla is left-handed and when you find a post player that can go to the left, that’s definitely going to give an advantage to her. She’s going to add the toughness and inside presence I think Jacksonville needs.”
McCloud feels her attributes fit right in.
“I’m undersized for my position but they like that I’m a strong player because that’s something they need,” she said. “They recently lost some post players so coach thought I’d be a good addition to the team.”
They also employ a style that is familiar to McCloud.
“They are more fast-paced because they are a smaller team so I think I’ll fit in well because I feel like we were pretty fast-paced this school year.”
The close-knit feeling also drew McCloud to Jacksonville.
“It’s a very small school so classes will be small,” she said. “The team seems really together and I just liked the overall vibe that I was getting.”
McAdams had McCloud for all four years and knows her legacy will be felt in the upcoming crop of players, including little sister sophomore Kaysha McCloud.
“You are going to see her hustle, toughness and determination in her little sister,” said McAdams. “She was a captain and a leader and she took it upon herself to take those young kids on and teach them things. She was always willing to help. I definitely think we’ll see some of the legacy she’s left in some of these younger players.”