Shaquoia “Coco” Crockett didn’t get the opportunity to play basketball her senior year of high school, but she’ll soon return to the court as a South Georgia Technical College Lady Jet.
Crockett recently signed a letter of intent with the school and, according to head coach James Frey, she could make an immediate impact by filling in for Lady Jet point guard Shaquita Snow, who is leaving after helping the squad finish the season with a 30-5 record.
“Finding someone to fill (Snow’s) shoes on and off the court will be a key to our success next season,” Frey said. “We are hoping that Coco can come in and contribute as a freshman.”
As a freshman at Bradwell Institute, Crockett averaged 13.1 points per game and played in 22 games. She scored 288 points, had 47 rebounds, 66 assists and 64 steals. She continued to excel during her sophomore year, helping the Lady Tigers make the first round of the state playoffs. Her junior year, Crockett scored 92 points, had 20 rebounds, 10 assists and 26 steals in the seven games she played. She had 30 points, seven assists and seven steals in Bradwell Institute’s win over Windsor Forest in the Region 3-AAAA playoffs.
After her junior year, Crockett played on travel teams in the AAU circuit. However, she said peer pressure, stress and the death of a close friend affected her feelings about basketball and her behavior around others.
“There is always a little pressure,” Crockett said. “There is always someone looking at what you are doing and the stuff you do. As an athlete, you have to watch everything you do, especially in a small town.”
Just one month after she turned 17 last year, Crockett learned that her basketball mentor, Ernie Walthour, had been killed. She took the news hard and faced many other issues, but she is now ready to turn things around.
“We always knew she had it in her,” Crockett’s mom, Alisha Bennett-Guy, said. “She knew what she wanted to do since she started playing ball at age 6. She has always been determined, but last year, she just wasn’t sure she wanted to play, and she focused on her academics.”
During her senior year of high school, Crockett transferred to Liberty County High but had to sit out the season due to Georgia High School Association transfer rules.
Frey, originally from Brunswick, said he knows a lot of people in Liberty County and the surrounding communities, and he likes to recruit players from the area.
“I have one young lady on my team from Savannah and she told me about Coco,” he said. “Athletically, she will be fine. I think her biggest adjustment will be socially and academically. … It’s a whole different game when you get to college. Athletically, everyone knows she is a good player, and the sky is the limit for her. This is a great opportunity for her. Our starting point guard is leaving, and she will have the opportunity to step in and play right away, but there is a lot of responsibility that goes with that, and you have to be able to be mature enough to handle that responsibility. But we are excited to have her.”
“I am very happy for her,” said Willie Crockett, the athlete’s father. “I knew it was coming. Growing up, she played every sport — including football, basketball and running track — so I knew it was coming, and I am happy for her.”
Crockett, who plans to study culinary arts, said she is once again focused on what makes her feel happy.
“When I’m playing basketball, it clears any emotions I have. It’s a stress-reliever when you are on the court and you love doing what you are doing. There is no better feeling than that,” she said. “I hope to go to a major Division 1 school and then go overseas and play ball. I want to come in already prepared. I will be in the gym before anybody else. I want to put in the same work I do on the court, off the court as well.”