Posted On: 04/23/19 5:54 PM

As an incoming Freshman last summer, Laila Barakat was deciding among multiple schools to continue her academic and athletic career at, and ultimately decided to attend Stagg High School and really enjoyed her first high school season.

“It was a great experience. I wasn’t a starter at first but got my way to start for more than half the season. I loved playing with three great Seniors who taught be how to be a leader.”

When watching her play, its easy to tell why she was moved up to a starter mid-way through the season. Laila is a smooth and confident ball handler who can really make things happen on both ends of the court. She averaged 8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals her Freshman year.

“I wasn’t that much of a scorer this year because I was the ball handler and the Seniors did much of the scoring. Next year they will be gone, and it will by my year.”

By reading her stats, it’s obvious that Laila makes a difference both offensively and defensively. On defense she has active hands and can anticipate passing lanes well to cause deflections that can turn into steals.

Offensively, she says that her strengths include her “court vision, ball handling, and being able to break own a player and take her to the basket.” Driving the ball and finishing at the rim or dishing to her teammates down-low are big assets of hers, but working on her long-range shooting and step-back threes is something she is looking to improve on this AAU season.

What is going on in recruiting?

“The Trinity College coach has talked to my coach about me and was interested, but my goal is Division One. A Marquette coach has talked to my travel coach, as well.”

To this point, there hasn’t been an abundance of recruiting interest, but I see that changing quickly. The 5’6’’ play-maker can really make good things happen, and will be a tough guard when she develops that long-range shot that she’s working on.

Since playing with the IL Lady Lightening in the past, Laila has joined up with the Universal Athletics Academy and playing on the 17U squad this AAU season.