This week’s guest has been a mainstay in the McKinney North girls’ basketball team’s starting lineup the last four seasons and is in the middle of putting together a strong season to cap off her productive high school career. Please kick back and enjoy the McKinney Courier-Gazette’s Sunday Spotlight Conversation with North star senior point guard Chelsea Wooten.
What is your motivation this season and how has it allowed you to be extremely focused?
Wooten: Throughout my high school years, I experienced different types of injuries. So this past summer, I stayed disciplined with learning and working on how to stay heathy and strong throughout my senior year.
My motivation was to achieve an unstoppable mindset and give 150% effort. Just seeing the talent and potential we have on this squad gives me the extra boost to push and work hard every single day.
Coming into my senior year, this is my last go-around, so I am focused on coming out to the court for everything and everyone. I am giving my all to everything I have so when the season ends, I will not have any regrets.
Who is your favorite professional basketball player and how have you put elements of their game into yours?
Wooten: This is kind of hard for me to choose because I have multiple favorites for different reasons. But I will go with Jason Williams aka “White Chocolate.”
Not too many people nowadays know about him. I personally think his skill set was way before his time.
I mock him in his passing ability, his handles, the way he scores the ball, and just the way he carries himself. He was a competitor and one of the best point guards the league has seen.
I mostly mock his passing game — he will get the crowd into the game with some passes that only a few can make. His court vision is a skill in and of itself, honestly, and I just love watching film on him.
How has your partnership with Amaria Fields helped you perform at high levels on the court?
Wooten: I like to create opportunities for my teammates and put them in positions to score the ball. That is what makes the game easier because when players on other teams are worried about me, they tend to fall asleep and I can thread the ball into the paint for an easy layup.
Our transition game is what makes the game easier. Also, just running the floor makes the flow of the game faster and getting the ball up the court for a quick layup is an easy way to score fast.
Give some insight into your relationship with North head coach Veronica Hamilton.
Wooten: I knew “Coach Ham” way before she came to North. My younger sister and her daughter played AAU together in the third grade. Now they are eighth-graders at Johnson Middle School. So, we are very close, and she is like an aunt to me outside of basketball.
We have a strong bond and it is very special because a lot of kids do not have the opportunity to be this close with their head coach. She treats me the same as the rest of the team — she is fair and always tries to do what is best for me and my teammates.
How special is it to be a four-year starter for a program like North that has been to the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons?
Wooten: It is very special because North has had amazing girls come through this program throughout the years. Playoffs for 10 consecutive years is huge because every year it is a different team and just to keep winning every year shows what type of a program McKinney North runs.
I still talk to some of the alumni that played here, and they still come out to some of the games, so it is very special to be able to lead this program and help with wins these last few years. Throughout the years, I have learned so much and I feel like I would not have had the learning experiences from any other school.
Being a four-year starting point guard has taught me so much, such as how to overcome adversity, learning personally, knowing my teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, and becoming a vocal leader on the floor.
What are your goals for your senior year and how big of a deal is it to get in the playoff and win some games?
Wooten: The goals for my senior year are to win district and to win district MVP. I also want to make it past the first round of playoffs. So far this year, we have overcome so much adversity.
We are starting to play extremely well as a team, and we are still in preseason. Around the time district starts, winning will come even easier for us because we will know all about one another's game inside and out.
Who do you look up to in life and how has their influence helped you on and off the court?
Wooten: My trainers, coach Earl and coach Charles. They’ve helped me develop my game over the years and they have pushed me to be the best player and person I can be on and off the court.
They might be the hardest people on me but it’s all out of love at the end of the day. I just love how much time and energy they’ve put into me and their support system. They always reached out and they are true leaders in the community. Both are heavily respected in the AAU community.
What are you going to miss most about wearing a Lady Bulldogs basketball jersey and representing McKinney North High School?
Wooten: I’m going to miss the sisterhood with my teammates and all of the friendships developed over the years with my classmates. Also, the teachers and the resource officers, who by the way, are super hilarious. They have helped me grow in becoming a person and leader over the years.
I cannot thank them enough and I’m going to miss the student sections at the basketball and football games. The environment they created for us athletes made the games even more exciting.
Putting on a Lady Bulldog jersey means a lot to me and I am honored to be representing the girls basketball program at North, as well as at MISD. The entire school itself has put so much support into me.