June 12, 2015
By: Zach Rhodes
“Players are made in the offseason, teams are made during the season” -Author Unknown
After putting up over 20,000 shots last summer, rising senior Aaliyah Whiteside is at it again this summer, continuing to improve all aspects of her game.
“I’m working on not just shooting, but more off the dribble shooting and working on my ball handling,” explained Whiteside. “We also have workouts every day, and I try to get extra running in too. I try to get an extra work out in on my own almost every day.”
Those summer work outs have been important as the Yellow Jackets continue to gear up for next season. Whiteside praised the new addition of assistant coach Rob Norris, who came over from VCU in April, for motivating each player during the work outs.
“Coach Rob has been working us out and he’s bringing a lot of new things to the game for us,” Whiteside said. “He’s watched film on each of us and basically going in on our weaknesses and making us better.”
With her outstanding work ethic and leadership, Whiteside has high expectations for her and her teammates heading into next season.
“My main goal is to make it to the NCAA Tournament, definitely make a deep run, as well as making it to the championship game of the ACC Tournament,” Whiteside stated. “I definitely want to make the All-ACC team and be a very important player to my teammates and Georgia Tech.”
Whiteside will be the top returning scorer for the Yellow Jackets as she averaged an impressive 13.4 points per game as a junior. She also lead all Jackets last season with 2.3 assists per game, free throws made (139) and free throws attempted (167). Heading into her final year with Georgia Tech, she is only 64 points shy of 1,000 career points.
“Yeah, it means a lot (to reach 1,000 career points) but when I first came here it wasn’t something that I thought about. Now that’s a great milestone to reach in my career, I definitely want to reach that for my family and friends as well as Georgia Tech,” explained Whiteside. “I’m definitely excited for the new year because I have the chance to hopefully reach 64 points in a couple of games.”
Q: What motivates you to have a great work ethic?
A: Shooting the 20,000 shots last year I did because I realized that I only had two years left. I just want to be the leader of the team, and lead younger people in the right direction.
Q: Any summer plans?
A: Right now I have my little brother here with me, he’s 12, and we just spend a lot of time together. I’ve taken him to Sky Zone, the amusement park, and show him a good time for two weeks out of the summer.
Q: What does it mean to be a senior and a captain heading into next season?
A: It means everything to me to have my teammates look up to me and look for me for answers and admire me. I just want to live up to that, I want them to work as hard as me I want them to follow me and when I leave continue to remember me as a great leader.
Q: How do you feel going into your last season at Tech?
A: I’m excited, I’m a little sad because it will be my last year, but I’m excited about getting a degree from Georgia Tech. I’ll be leaving something that has been my home for the last four years, so it’s kind of bittersweet.
Q: Plans after graduating from Georgia Tech?
A: I definitely want to pursue basketball. I do want to coach eventually, but I do want to play for a couple years I just got to see how it goes. I will pursue it with my best intent, but I do want to coach one day.
Q: If you could play with four other players to have an All-Star starting five, who would they be?
A: Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal in his prime and for a point guard I’d take Stephen Curry.
Q: Who do you have winning the NBA Finals?
A: I think it will go to Game 7, but I think the Cavs are going to pull it out.
Q: If you could meet any celebrity right now, who would it be?
A: I definitely want to meet Nicki Minaj one day; she’s one of the best women’s rappers in the game, so she’s kind of an idol to me.
Q: Favorite Disney Movie?
A: The Incredibles.
Q: Favorite Childhood Toy?