Sterling point guard Tyra Satchell is ahead of her time

Posted: February 24, 2013

Every year in late February, Sterling point guard Tyra Satchell gets a little nervous.

Even though it happens to coincide with the start of the New Jersey state girls' basketball playoffs, which Sterling will enter Monday, her anxiety has nothing to do with the hardwood.

It actually has to do with her birthday.

Unlike most seniors who turn 18 before graduating, Satchell will turn 17 on Thursday, meaning that a whole new crop of friends and teammates will learn that she is a grade ahead.

Satchell is a 1,000-point scorer and a National Honor Society member who is hoping to attend Duke or Georgetown and become a doctor or a nurse. She has a list of accomplishments that stack up favorably to most 16-year-olds, but she would rather keep that to herself.

"It's not something I tell people a lot," Satchell said. "I like to be held to the same standard as people who are in my class."

Satchell skipped preschool and said kindergarten and first grade were difficult before she caught up. Now she is glad she is ahead.

"I know people who are my age and don't know what's ahead of them yet," she said. "I feel like I'm more prepared than they are. Even though we might be the same age, I feel like I've been through more things."

Satchell still refrains from telling her teammates her age; many find out because of her birthday.

"She's reluctant to let people know that and sometimes I think she's very humble," Sterling coach Kate McDonald said.

Satchell, who is averaging 15.3 points, five rebounds, and 5.1 assists this season, tried to downplay any attention when she scored her 1,000th point on Feb. 15 against Lindenwold.

"I asked her how she felt that day and she said, 'I feel OK; I don't like a whole lot of attention,' " McDonald said. "She means that. But I'm glad she's getting the attention because she deserves it."

Satchell is ready for what could be the end of her basketball career when fourth-seeded Sterling hosts the 13th seed, Barnegat, on Monday afternoon in the first round of the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.

Because of her academic and professional goals, she realizes that she might not have time for college basketball.

"During the summertime I played AAU basketball and I also took a college course online," said Satchell, who is in the top 15 percent of her class.

"That was definitely a tough situation. After a game when my friends were winding down, I was doing homework. To me, that was a simulation of what it would be like during college."

In many ways, Satchell's approach to her academics is the same as it was in grade school.

"If I'm exceeding at something, there's no reason to hold back," she said.


Contact Nick Carroll at ncarroll@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll

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