The long wait is not only over for high-profile 6-foot guard/forward Kiya Dorroh.
It’s over for Sabino High School, which is 12-6 overall after winning 11 of its last 13 games behind Division I prospects Kamryn Doty and Kam’Ren Rhodes.
It’s finished for girls basketball in general in Tucson, booming with Division I talent and greatly enhanced by Dorroh’s presence.
It’s done for college recruiters, especially 13 programs that have offered Dorroh a scholarship (including Arizona’s Adia Barnes).
After transferring from Tanque Verde High School following her freshman year, Dorroh — with the potential to be the best girls basketball player to come out of Tucson — is finally eligible, beginning Tuesday at home against Safford at 5:30 p.m.
When asked Sunday if finally playing will be a weight off her shoulders, Dorroh said, “I hope it’s not too much. I’m going to try to focus on it being another game.”
That might be easier said than done but if a player can handle the nerves of being on the court in such a circumstance, Dorroh certainly can. Since her club-ball days before her freshman season at Tanque Verde, Dorroh has shown an impressive composed style.
“It’s been really, really long,” Dorroh said about the wait since her last game with Tanque Verde last season. “But I’ve had so much growth and so much learning. I think I learned a lot more than I would have if I was playing, so it’s positive.”
feels right pic.twitter.com/Gphj7asvFr
What she has learned the most by observing is how she can fit in with Doty, a sophomore, and Rhodes, a freshman. Both are 5-foot-6 guards. Doty has two Division I offers, including one from South Carolina State and Rhodes has three, with her first coming from Kentucky and assistant Niya Butts, Arizona’s former coach.
The Sabercats, who advanced to the Class 3A state quarterfinals last year, also have talented sophomore guard Trinity Yaeger.
“I just learned that there’s a lot that’s needed,” said Dorroh about the Sabercats, who started 1-4 against Phoenix-area schools before their recent surge. “Being able to prepare and see what your teammates can do is helpful. It was also helpful playing against them in practice. It made them better and it made me better.
“I can see what everybody was capable of. You just get a different perspective when you’re sitting on the side and you see what we need to work on and what we don’t need to work on, things like that. Just learning more about the game and my teammates really stood out most when I was sitting out.”
Just sat out my last game today!!! Im hungrier than ever #Jan15
With Dorroh’s first game comes plenty of expectations. Three Division I prospects on one team should translate to a Class 3A state title — that’s what the expectations are for coach Jaamal Rhodes’ team.
“It’s good to have certain types of expectations because it makes you want to play better and live up to them so that makes your team better,” said Dorroh, who averaged 15.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.8 steals as a freshman.
“I’m used to playing under expectations like that, so I’m going to try to get my team together and understand these things are needed. That’s only going to make you better when you accept it. Don’t let it take a negative effect on you. I am so excited for my team to experience these type of things. I’m excited to see where we can go. I’m really positive and confident we’re going to go really far.”
One expectation Dorroh will hear and read of plenty until she graduates — challenging the likes of Santa Rita’s Paula Pyers, Catalina Foothills’ Julie Brase, Tucson’s Alexis Cortez, Marana’s Jamee Swan and Salpointe Catholic’s Sybil Dosty as the best Tucson has produced.
Most of the Pac-12 schools have offered a scholarship — Barnes made her offer when Dorroh was in the eighth grade — as well as Tennessee, Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Missouri.
Her much-anticipated return to the court with her teammates, coaches, opponents and fans expecting her to take over should make her thrive instead of being overcome by the attention.
“I’m just hoping I just stay focused and everything falls into place,” she said. “I’m just super-excited. I already know there’s going to be ups and downs, and things like that. I know it’s going to be an emotional game so my main focus will be to stay focused on what’s important — the positives and playing hard.
“That’s all you can control.”