Editor’s Note: The following story, drafted in April, was meant to finalize coverage of the 2019-2020 women’s prep basketball season for Daily Herald subscribers.
Then, as if on cue, the coronavirus pandemic swept through our state, taking with it our salute to Skylah Travis of Weldon High School — a prodigy that will not soon be forgotten by hoops enthusiasts in the Roanoke River Valley.
WELDON — Genuine modesty, always.
Perhaps that should be the end-all book on Weldon forward Skylah Travis, who accomplished more during the 2019-2020 basketball season than many prep hoopsters manage to assemble in a career, but who never went out of her way to boast of it.
In fact, it’s difficult to imagine No. 25 ever speaking in a portfolio-first manner — but my, the numbers were outstanding.
Points, you ask?
Of course, as her scoring average of 20.7 per game would indicate.
How about rebounds?
Certainly, and snared in 10.6 per-outing bunches, easy as you please.
There also existed a seemingly endless array of winning moments — ones born out of animated hustle, which many believe define who a player is, and what they can ultimately become.
And if work ethic is indeed a wunderkind’s soul, Travis graded out well with respect to said grind, curating elbow-grease stats of 4.9 assists, 5.1 steals and 3.9 blocks per evening — good enough, naturally, to qualify her as the Daily Herald Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.
Yet those numbers, oddly enough, aren’t what made her stand out.
November 15, 2019.
It was a day to remember, for certain, one draped in blue and old-gold, with posters, balloons and all-things Travis littering the Charger Dome.
Her time, and celebration, at long last.
But when she entered the gym to sign a National Letter of Intent to continue her hoop dream this fall at Old Dominion University — serenaded by a cheer that seemed to have its own pulse — Travis appeared positively overwhelmed by the scene, complete with a hands-to-her-face, surely-this-can’t-all-be-for-me blush.
But it was.
Because at some point, perhaps during her four years on campus, or during a recruiting process that spanned the eastern seaboard, her hopes became everyone’s plans — which only really bothers to happen when the person doing the fast-tracking is so admired, so respected, and so treasured.
This was about more than buckets.
More than blocks.
More than triple-doubles, 50-point wins and holiday titles.
It was about constitution.
It was about doing one’s business while minding no others.
Sweat equity, and where it can lead.
If you were in the gym that day, the moment certainly carried, only to land upon that rarified parcel marked this-is-cool, or, this-doesn’t-often-happen.
Through it all, Travis just smiled, except for the moment she stepped to the microphone to voice her thanks to all who attended her journey.
She nailed it, of course, with genuine modesty — always.