Bullard High School standout basketball player Minta Spears, who has signed with Texas Tech, is no stranger to receiving awards, and on Tuesday she learned of a new award being bestowed on her — PARADE Magazine All-American.
Spears, who graduated as Salutatorian this year, joins 39 other players from across the county and is the only Texas Tech player on the list. All 40 players are headed to an NCAA Division I school in the fall.
“It’s really rewarding,” Spears said. “When you work hard you don’t think about this award or that award, you do it just to be successful to the sport you enjoy playing. So when you do receive an award, it’s nice to know hard work pays off.”
Spears began fielding offers from schools after her freshman year of high school. She gained exposure by playing AAU basketball and ultimately chose Texas Tech last April.
“To me, it came down to the coaching staff,” she said. “If you don’t have the small morals and don’t get along with the coach, you won’t be happy at that school. Also, I love Lubbock. Everyone out there supports women’s basketball and it’s cool how the community supports Texas Tech athletics.”
Playing Division I basketball will obviously be a bit more challenging that Class 3A ball in Texas, but Spears said playing AAU during the summers has her prepared for that.
“All the top players in the nation are playing at those (AAU) tournaments,” she said. “I’ve guarded Alexis Jones (an All-American) who is going to Duke … and I’m not saying that I’m going in as the best player but you have that experience of playing AAU and you hope that carries over into college.”
Spears began playing AAU basketball the summer after her fifth-grade year and has played for the same coach during the summer since.
“I went down to a practice in Frisco to try out for Team Texas,” she said. “They said they loved me and asked me to play in Lubbock that weekend … it’s cool that my first AAU experience started in Lubbock and that’s where I’ve ended up.”
In her senior year at Bullard, Spears helped lead the Lady Panthers to the regional quarterfinals. Spears scored 25 points in the 41-37 lost to Lorena. She averaged 33.7 points per game and 4.2 rebounds during the 2011-2012 season.
“It’s cool to see how I’ve developed as a leader (during four years of high school),” she said. “Freshman year I was a leader on the floor, but away from the court I wasn’t as much. But as the years have gone by I’ve learned to see and read people, and I really believe that has helped me become a better leader.”
Spears is wasting no time after graduation before heading off to Lubbock. She leaves Saturday to prepare for summer school, which begins Monday. She plans to major in mass communications and hopefully become a college coach one day.