Basketball legend: ‘I can’t talk more highly of her’
Australia's greatest women's point guard Michele Timms has given Shyla Heal the ultimate praise, declaring that the rising Townsville Fire talent is a carbon copy of herself as an emerging player and a "must have" selection for next year's Olympics.
Heal's journey to a senior Australian singlet starts on Wednesday (8pm AEST) when she takes on Opals guard Katie Ebzery in a blockbuster Townsville versus Perth clash on the opening night of the 2020 WNBL season.
Timms, who dominated in the WNBL, WNBA and the international stage in a decorated career, believes the daughter of Boomers legend Shane Heal is destined for big things.
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"Shyla is my pick for the next true point guard of Australia that will be around for quite a while," Timms said.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on her, but I see a bit of her game in what my game used to be like.
"I can't talk more highly of her, I just love everything she does, and I would have her in the Olympic team for Tokyo as the third guard just to get her ready for the future.
"She can get up the floor and harass, she is a good off-ball defender, and she is an excellent rebounder.
"And offensively, well she is a Heal, so she can shoot, and she has got a great scorer's mentality."
Timms is particularly proud of the way Heal has been able to progress her game after starting out with the South East Queensland Stars in 2015.
She expects the 19-year-old to take another step in her development with Townsville this season.
"I just love the way Shyla has evolved," she said.
"Having watched her huge improvement from Perth to Bendigo, I'm excited about the future.
"Her body shape changed, she came back with better stamina and agility, and I expect further improvement this season.
"She is also going into a system at Townsville that will suit her game style better.
"To me she is more your traditional point guard, which has been lacking over the years with not too many point guards to choose from.
"I'm absolutely looking forward to Shyla playing this whole season, and I'm just excited for the future of women's basketball seeing her come through."
Originally published as 'I can't talk more highly of her': Legend spruiks next big thing