No matter what transpires in the future, Waite senior Shareese Ulis has secured her place in City League basketball history.
The 5-foot-7 point guard, a four-year starter for the Indians, will be remembered as the player most instrumental in lifting the Waite girls program from the depths of the City League to three consecutive championships.
Along the way she has been named the CL s player of the year three times, and this yearrepeated as the girls player of the year on the 2007 All-Blade team.
Ulis has reached these heights using an arsenal of court skills superb ball-handling, precise distributing, and an effective scoring touch from all ranges. Her trademark court demeanor includes an emotionless face, and a knack for imposing her will on a game at the right moment.
I got that from coach [Waite s Manny] May, Ulis said of her poker face. If he doesn t get mad, then I can t get mad. I react to him. It s not that I don t have emotion, it s that I don t let my opponents see it. I don t let them see any frustration. I keep it all inside.
Above all, Ulis is a court leader.
Shareese has the wherewithal to know when it s time to put the team on her back and carry them with that extra push, May said. But her real strength is her unselfishness.
She knows she can take over a game by scoring a lot of points. But she doesn t do that because she wants to keep her teammates involved. That way the team does better.
The leadership role came early, but not by accident.
Shareese always wanted to meet challenges, May said. She never ran away from them. She came to a program that had a losing record, but she saw the big picture. She saw where she could fit into the puzzle and make this a winning team.
The first part of the climb was the steepest.
My freshman year, I was just kind of there, Ulis said. I didn t possess any major skills. But I helped the team, and I figured I could get better and maybe help us get farther. That summer I spent most of my time in the gym and got better. I learned that, most of the time, girls my age weren t doing the same things I was doing. If I was working extra hard and they were sitting around, then maybe I had the upper hand.
Although her individual statistics dropped slightly, this season may have revealed Ulis most impressive work.
With the graduation of first-team All-City post player Tatyana McNeal and third-team All-City forward Briana Washington, Ulis and fellow senior guard Anedria Allen were charged with reloading a squad which went 20-4 in 2005-06.
It didn t hurt that Waite gained 6-3 standout freshman Natasha Howard, who was first in the CL in scoring and second in rebounding.
With Ulis striving to create balance, Waite not only remained strong but improved.
Most of the time, you can t win games if you don t get your teammates involved, Ulis said. Some of them need to get the ball to build confidence, so I get them the ball, then I do what I do. I feel that I can get to the hole and score anytime that I want to.
The Indians closed the regular season at 18-1 (11-0 City League), ranked No. 3 in the final Division I state poll and topped Central Catholic 56-50 to win its third straight league title.
The 19-1 Indians next tournament test is a district semifinal against Central tonight at Clay.
Failing is not something I fear. Everybody fails. When you fail, it only makes you stronger, Ulis said.
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