Ypsilanti — Southfield A&T assistant coach Jareica Hughes patted Ypsilanti Arbor Prep's Mya Petticord on the shoulder as she headed to the locker room following her team’s game in the Ice Breaker Classic on Saturday evening.
Hughes was a freshman phenom in the early 2000s when she led Southfield Lathrup to an unbeaten regular season, helping her team win the Class A state championship in 2005 before leading UTEP to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2008.
No doubt, everyone by now knows all about Ypsilanti Lincoln 6-foot-8 freshman Emoni Bates, the No. 1 player in the nation for the 2022 class.
But, there’s another talented freshman in Ypsilanti in the 14-year-old Petticord, who has entered the season under the radar for most girls basketball fans.
That's for good reason, as Petticord doesn’t bring several years of AAU experience to the high school scene, like Bates does.
Petticord, the daughter for former Detroit Renaissance star Stanley Allen, grew up working on her game at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse under the guidance of former Detroit Pershing boys basketball coach A.W. Canada.
Petticord started going to Canada for training at age 8, and continued until her first full season of AAU ball this past season with the Michigan Storm.
Petticord's followed up with quite a high school debut. She scored 33 last week in a 60-52 victory over Clarkston, followed by a school-record 34 points on her home floor Saturday afternoon in a 59-55 win over Maple City Glen Lake in the Arbor Prep Ice Breaker Classic.
So, did Petticord think it would be this easy?
“Yes, I’m surprised, but I just go out and play aggressive, don’t want to let the team down,” said Petticord, who already has offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Marquette, Illinois, Cincinnati and Eastern Michigan. “Since I go four quarters, it’s better for me to pace myself, and it’s like a stop clock so I get more rhythm and I get the team involved, so I guess it’s easier than what I thought it would be.
“I feel my strength is my scoring and rebounding, sometimes putting pressure defensively. I like playing defense. You know, causing problems.”
Petticord grew up in Detroit before moving on to Arbor Prep.
“I grew up in Detroit, went to middle school at (Detroit Edison Public School Academy), then came here where it’s such a good environment for me,” Petticord said of Arbor Prep, which has reached the state championship game the last three years, winning the Class C state title in 2016.
Hughes coaches one of the older Michigan Storm teams, and knows all about Petticord.
“Mya is something special,” Hughes said. “She is going to be a major player here in Michigan, and she’s getting offers already from all over the country because she’s such a phenomenal young lady and she’s only a freshman.
“I coach my 17-year-old team, the 11th-graders for the Storm organization and she plays for our ninth-grade team. But, I will say this, when we went down to Atlanta this past summer we bumped her up to our TNT team, it’s our best team, and she played extremely well against the girls down there in big tournaments in Atlanta and Louisville.
“She got noticed there because she came up big-time going up against big-time teams, went up against 16-, 17- and some 18-year-olds, and she was poised as ever. You wouldn’t think that she was a freshman because she’s so fluid, so smart and knows how to work the defense to get what she wants at the end of the day.”
Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine is thrilled to have Petticord running the show.
“She just scores the ball in multiple ways, can take it to the basket, shoot the ball out from 28 to 30 feet, she can step back, she can float,” Stine said. “She can handle the ball, so she can get where she wants to go and she also sets her teammates up. She’s the complete package, and best of all she’s a great kid.”
“She’s very humble,” Canada said. “She’s a sponge, soaks it up. She’s a people person. The best thing about her is her personality. She cares about people. Her dad grew up under me in REACH (program) and he also played for Mark White when he was at Renaissance, then later played at Pittsburgh. We’re like family.
“With Mya, we worked on footwork, layups, situational principles, shooting, any aspect of the game that a kid can develop in we worked on it. And, she definitely listens.”
Petticord and Arbor Prep will be playing Detroit Renaissance at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the 9th Annual Best of Michigan Holiday Classic at Detroit Edison.
2018 Best of Michigan Holiday Classic at Detroit Edison
Detroit Henry Ford Academy at Detroit Edison (B team), 6 p.m.
Chicago Whitney Young vs. Detroit Edison (Main team), 7:40 p.m.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep vs. Detroit Renaissance, 9:30 a.m.
Ann Arbor Huron vs. Midland Dow, 11 a.m.
Flint Carman-Ainsworth vs. Southfield A&T, 12:40 p.m.
South Bend (Ind.) Washington vs. Jenison, 2:30 p.m.
Columbus (Ohio) Northland vs. Detroit Country Day, 4 p.m.
Toledo (Ohio) Rogers vs. East Kentwood, 5:40 p.m.
Chicago Whitney Young vs. Wayne Memorial, 7:20 p.m.
Columbus (Ohio) Africentric vs. Detroit Edison (Main), 9 p.m.