Moody senior Kayla Ellis made history at her school last week becoming the first female athlete to sign a college basketball scholarship. Coach Rebecca Davis said Ellis may be the first basketball signee in Moody history, male or female. Ellis signed with Wallace State in Hanceville, a Division I junior college.
Ellis is the 17-year-old daughter of Derrick and Kenyada Ellis. She started her basketball career at Calera, but transferred to Moody as a freshman. She leaves Moody as the all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball with just over 1,000 points.
Ellis said other colleges that showed interest in her included Alabama A&M, the University of Mobile and a few community colleges.
“I chose Wallace State because it is just a better fit for me,” she said.
Ellis plans on majoring in business management. After two years at Wallace State, she said she would love to further her basketball career at a Division I school, hopefully in the Southeastern Conference. Her dream is to one day play in the WNBA.
Derrick Ellis said this is an awesome opportunity for his daughter.
“She is the first person in our family to earn a scholarship,” he said. “It means the world to see her efforts and hard work pay off. It means so much to see how Moody school is rewarding her and it is very appreciative.”
Kenyada Ellis said she was excited for her daughter.
“She has been playing basketball since the fifth grade,” she said. “To see her grow up in the sport, and see the experience she has gained, I’m just so proud of her.”
Davis said this is a huge moment for Moody High School.
“Kayla has been so important to our program,” she said. “She has helped us move the program forward, helping us win some games and achieving some of the goals we had set. We are so grateful she has been at Moody High the past four years. I’m very proud of her.”
Davis said she believes Wallace State basketball coach Jessica McBrayer will be a good fit for Kayla.
“I am very excited Kayla gets the opportunity to play in their program at Wallace State,” Davis said. “During her senior year here at Moody, she averaged 25 points per game. Last year, she was the season MVP for the county. She has made All-County and All-Area the four years she has been here.”
Coach McBrayer said they’re excited about signing Ellis.
“We are trying to turn our program from a winning program to a championship program,” she said. “Our recruiting this year was mentality. We are trying to find kids who want to win at all costs. That’s something that Kayla just brings to the table immediately. She can take over a game at any point. She already has that desire to want to take over a game, so that’s why we’re excited about having her join us. She brings championship mentality.”
Reach Gary Hanner at firstname.lastname@example.org.