Why Tyler Scaife Ultimately Chose Rutgers over Arkansas, Tennessee, Baylor et al

Latest SLAM issue profiles nation's top-ranked PG out of Little Rock.
Latest SLAM issue profiles nation’s top-ranked PG out of Little Rock.

Franklyn Calle has a nice article in SLAM magazine on the most dominant guard in recent Arkansas basketball history.

He talked to Tyler Scaife, Little Rock High’s McDonald All-American, about why she chose Rutgers over the likes of Tennessee and Baylor. Turns out, Scaife’s favorite player is Cappie Pondexter, the 5-9 Rutgers alum who in 2011 was voted as one of the top 15 players in WNBA history. Scaife, who also stands 5-9, told Calle: “[Rutgers] Coach Stringer does a great job of molding guards and putting them in the WNBA. I felt that Rutgers fit my style of play.”

Scaife will try to finish her high school career in style by bringing Hall a long-awaited title in the state playoffs over the next week and a half. In 2011-12, Scaife averaged 25.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 steals but Hall finished the season at 23-6 after losing in the 7A state semifinals to Fort Smith Northside. This year, Scaife’s numbers had dropped through early February (24 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.8 apg, 3.1 steals and 1 block) but in recent weeks she has ramped up her performance as her team has steamrolled to a 26-2 record and #1 state ranking.

Depending on how Hall finishes this season, Scaife could have a legit argument to be the best female player in state history. As I see it, her main competition for this designation is Shekinna Stricklin, who was a force of nature at Morrilton High 2005-08. Stricklin, like Scaife, won two Gatorade player of the year honors to go along with the McDonald’s All-American honor. Here are some other Stricklin benchmarks Scaife will be measured against:

  • Named all-state and all-conference all four years of her high school career
  • Started in all 120 games played and totaled 2,690 points, 1,400 rebounds, 726 assists, 474 steals and 605 blocked shots
  • Had 45 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in the 2008 state finals her senior year
  • Parade Magazine All-America Second Team (2008) and Third Team (2007)
  • 2008 USA Today All-USA First Team
  • The 2006 MVP of the Arkansas State AAAA championships after her 30-point, 16-rebound, four-assist and four-block performance in the championship game to lead Morrilton to the title

Check out this month’s issue of SLAM  (Russell Westbrook cover) for the complete Scaife article. 


I just got this insight from longtime Arkansas sportswriter Walter Woodie. The man has seen plenty of good ball in his day:

Before you call her the best in the 5-on-5 era, you might want to think about Wendy Schoeltens of FS Southside.
 All-American at Vandy, played in Europe/Asia before WNBA. Also in Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Besides Stricklin, do not forget Hot Springs’ Shemeka Christon, who was the SEC Player of the Year at Arkansas.
She is in the argument, yes, but not the best. At least, not yet.
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