TAMPA In basketball, shooters have to have an attitude. They have to know they can hit from any spot on the floor, and know that they need to catch it and rip it any time they want.
You've seen it in the NBA. Remember Larry Bird's famous taunt at his opponents during an NBA 3-point shooting contest back when Bird had all the confidence of a Vegas gambler? He simply walked into the locker room and asked his opponents who would be finishing second. Bird claimed the award before he stepped on the court.
That's the attitude of Keyara Bromley. She can hit from anywhere. She might not gab at her opponents Bird-style, but she knows she has game.
One thing, though. She's only in second grade.
"The first time she picked up a basketball I knew she had a gift,'' said her father, Ben Bromley, who is also an assistant with the Armwood High boys team. "She's 8 now and she can handle the ball better than a lot of the kids in high school.''
Keyara is a competitor who never is shy to take on a challenge. Last month, she entered the Elks Club National Shootout and to say she dominated is an insult. She made 17 of 25 from long range. Her closest competitor finished second with two. Now it's on to the next round, in Augusta, Ga., which can lead to the national championships in Springfield, Mass., home of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Ben Bromley is Keyara's AAU coach for the Tampa Bay Inferno, which features mostly fifth-graders. Keyara, who plays combination guard, doesn't mind being the youngest on the team. A lot of the time, her Inferno teammates are younger than the rest of the girls she plays against. Ben Bromley said Keyara is often used to scrimmages with the Armwood varsity team and even works with the Armwood junior varsity boys.
Keyara said she doesn't feel like she is being pushed. In fact, she said, she gets upset when she can't get into a gym when she wants to work on her game. Her basketball hero is Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls guard who has a pretty nice shooting stroke himself.
Keyara has a long way – at least 10 years – before she can think about college, but colleges start looking early and often when it comes to sharpshooters like Keyara. She can already hit from the college 3-point line, but with all of that in front of her, Keyara could only sum up her basketball aspirations in two words: "It's fun.''