Name: Malayah Bruno
School: St. Mary’s High School
Team Name: Saints
17 year old Basketball Sensation Malayah Bruno will be representing St. Mary’s Girls Basketball team this season in Calgary, Alberta. As many settle into hockey this fall, Malayah who is a member of both Siksika (Blackoot) and Cree Nations is making preparations to play her last season of high school ball which has taken her out of Treaty 7 territory to play the game she loves. Described by her teammates as determined, hardworking on and off court mixed with a great sense of humour and compassion this young up and coming athlete is setting the bar high and currently training to be the top rebounder and scorer this season. With her sight set high on professional ball after high school, she has received some attention from postsecondary schools and is preparing to go to college. This season she plans on taking more of a leadership role with hopes of becoming tournament championships, as well as a city championship and a provincial championship.
Describe your Team Alberta experience?
Malayah: Playing on the provincial team this past summer was one of the best experiences for me. Not only did playing at a high level improve my skill and work ethic, but it has allowed me to meet and play with a group of talented girls. Going to Canada Summer Games and representing Alberta is an honor and an experience I will not forget.
Where else has basketball taken you?
M: Basketball has allowed me to travel to many places. I have played in tournaments in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago. Last May I had the chance to travel to South Korea with Team Alberta for a basketball/culture exchange program where I have learned a lot on and off the court.
How long have you been playing basketball?
M: I’ve spent most of my time in the gym when I was little because my family would be playing in tournaments across the country. I started playing when I was nine years old.
What do you enjoy about playing?
M: Playing basketball has given me a number of opportunities and has allowed me to go many places. I enjoy travelling to tournaments, making new friends and seeing old and new teammates. I enjoy looking out into the crowd and seeing my family members supporting me and cheering me on.
What are you thinking on the court?
M: When I’m on the court, I forget about everything that’s happening outside of basketball and just focus on the game I’m playing during that moment. I think of what I need to do to help my team perform well.
Who is your favourite basketball player?
M: My favorite basketball player is my dad. Without my dad, I probably would not know half the things I know about basketball. I love the way my dad plays. His stories inspire me to be better in everything. His tough criticism, tremendous support and tips helped me become the player I am right now.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
M: My biggest accomplishment so far is making it to the 2013 Canada Summer Games with Alberta on my jersey. It was a once in a lifetime chance for me to be there and I’m glad I had that opportunity.Qualifying for the 4A provincials in school basketball last season and getting 5th place was a fun experience. Before provincials my team made it to the Division 1 City Championship for the first time since 2008/2009.
Where would you like basketball to take you?
M: I want to be involved with basketball for as long as I can. Whether that is playing, coaching, doing camps, etc. I dream to play at a professional level someday, perhaps playing for my country on the national team in the future.
What do you do when you are not playing basketball?
M: Basketball takes up a lot of my time, but when I’m not playing I am most likely doing homework and studying. I love spending time with my family and friends, especially at pow wows. I enjoy going to watch college/professional basketball games with good company to learn and have a good time. I’m also involved with the Senior Girls volleyball team at school.
“I maintain such a hectic schedule by staying focused on my schoolwork when I am supposed to. My parents play a huge role in helping me get to practices, games, camps, etc. and pushing me to do my best and to work to my fullest potential because they did not get the same opportunities I have right now.”
(Photos provided by Malayah Bruno)