Having spent virtually her entire adult life as a teacher and coach, Bastrop Lady Rams basketball coach Emma Brooks has developed an appreciation for well-mannered young people with good attitudes.
As luck would have it, the one young lady that Brooks wishes had at least a trace of a surly disposition is the one that doesn't.
With a tough-love approach, Brooks has tried unsuccessfully for four years to instill some on-court meanness into Greely, the Lady Rams' 6-3 senior center.
"I really would have liked to have seen Danielle become that fierce player down low," Brooks said. "She's probably the only person on my team that I've never seen get angry or frustrated when I get on her. It doesn't bother her. If it does, she's never let it show. She's just that happy-go-lucky player that doesn't show any emotion. I've tried many times to make that anger come out, hoping she would channel that emotion into a game situation and become a better player. Big girls have to bring that attitude, but I haven't been able to get that out of her."
Although she hasn't displayed the dominance that Brooks had hoped for, Brooks has been a solid contributor over the past two seasons. Most coaches would be elated to receive 11.8 points, 10 rebounds, 2.2 blocked shots and 1.7 steals per game from the center position.
In fairness to both Brooks and Greely, the 3.5 student has made tremendous progress since battling conditioning issues early in her career. Dropping a significant amount of weight prior to last season, the more nimble Greely earned a spot in the starting lineup.
"She has come a long way since her freshman year," Brooks said.
Greely's improvement hasn't escaped the attention of college recruiters.
"We have some people interested in her," Brooks said. "Bossier Parish Community College is really interested in her. The coach feels like he can make her into that dominant inside player. Baton Rouge Community College has shown some interest as well."
Brooks has advised Greely to start her college career at the junior college level where she would essentially be guaranteed playing time as opposed to a four-year school.
"With Danielle, I definitely feel junior college is the place she needs to go," Brooks said. "They can further develop her into that player the Division I schools are looking for. If she goes to a Division II school, she is basically going to be a practice player. If she goes to a junior college, she's going to get that playing time and be able to further develop her skills and become that inside force. Junior college is very much the route for her to go."
As for Greely's attitude — or lack thereof — off the court, Brooks says Greely is a joy to be around.
Page 2 of 3 - "As far as being a pleasant person to be around, you couldn't ask to have a nicer player on the team," Brooks said. "She's never been a problem and never shown an attitude toward us."
BDE: When did you start playing basketball?
Danielle Greely: In the seventh grade at Morehouse Junior High. Ms. (Vashon) Hobbs was our coach.
BDE: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of basketball?
Greely: My favorite part is doing stuff right in practice, playing around when you can and being serious when you need to be.
My least favorite part is running for our mistakes.
BDE: What's it going to take for the Lady Rams to make a playoff run?
Greely: We just have to work together and listen to what coach Brooks tells us. She's been through this already so she knows what we have to do to get to the next level. Also, we have to have confidence in ourselves.
BDE: What has been the key to the Lady Rams' improvement in recent weeks?
Greely: Our guards have started to pass the ball better and be more more patient instead of just running down the floor and taking a shot. They're setting the ball up and looking for someone that's open.
BDE: What is the biggest improvement you have made since your senior year?
Greely: My endurance, but I still need to work on getting stronger and developing more moves so I don't get called for traveling.
BDE: How difficult has it been to wait on the playoff brackets for the past week?
Greely: It's hard because you don't know who you are going to be up against. We just have to practice on doing everything right. We've been going over every single thing we can do to get better.
BDE: Who is an up-and-coming teammate to watch in the future?
Greely: Jalijah Wheeler, Deja Robinson and Tia Coleman have made a lot of improvement this year
and they are going to be that much better next year with a year of experience.
BDE: What did Senior Night mean to you?
Greely: I was excited. I've been waiting for that night to come since I was a freshman and it was great.
It's just now starting to hit me that high school basketball is almost over for me.
BDE: What are you going to miss the most about playing high school basketball?
Page 3 of 3 - Greely: I'm going to miss my teammates and Coach Brooks. I've gotten attached to her even though she can be a little mean sometimes. I'm going to miss coach Shonda (Smith), too.
From what I've heard, it's a lot easier playing high school ball than going to the next level and playing college ball. I'm just trying to take it one step at a time.
BDE: Outside of basketball, what is something you hope to accomplish during your senior year?
Greely: My goal is to graduate with honors and I want to get a job after basketball season. I need some money to pay all of those senior fees.
BDE: What do you like best about attending Bastrop High?
Greely: I like the teachers. There are a lot of cool people around here because I've lived here all of my life and know everybody. Everybody here is like family.
BDE: What are your future plans?
Greely: I want to play college basketball, major in psychology and become a counselor. Right now, Baton Rouge Community College and Louisiana Tech are my main choices.
BDE: How did you become interested in counseling?
Greely: I like hearing about people's problems and I like to do whatever I can to help people out.