After four seasons of record-setting basketball at Mountain View, senior Destiny Slocum has established herself as one of the best players in Idaho high school history.
She led the Mavericks to back-to-back 5A state championships, set the state tournament scoring record, won her second straight Gatorade Idaho Player of the Year award and became the first Idahoan to be selected to the McDonald’s All-American team.
Today, she is being honored as the Idaho Statesman’s 5A All-Idaho Player of the Year, based on a vote of coaches statewide.
In a few months, none of those accomplishments will matter much anymore.
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Slocum is trading her West Coast roots for a college career with Maryland’s powerhouse basketball program. She’s part of the Terrapins’ 2016 recruiting class that is ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPNW.
As she did as a freshman at Mountain View, Slocum will have to prove herself in the Big Ten Conference program if she wants to break into the starting lineup.
“She could have an immediate impact. We have nobody like her,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Obviously we just graduated two senior point guards, and so the position is wide open. It is for her to take, and she knew that coming in, our situation and how it presented itself. I fully expect that she’s going to come in and take advantage of the opportunity that she has in front of her and make everybody around her better.”
Slocum got a taste of big challenges last summer, when she played for Team USA at the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Russia and won a gold medal.
“I didn’t really play a lot when I went there, and I wasn’t the best player on the floor, neither was I the fastest or the best shooter,” Slocum said. “I felt like every single time I went and I practiced for that week, I had to prove and show there was a reason that I was there.
“Watching from the bench, I realized why I’ve worked so hard my entire life is so I’m not that person that sits and watches, but I’m the person that goes and does.”
As a Terrapin, Slocum will share the court with players who can match her elite status. Slocum is a five-star recruit who ESPNW ranks as the No. 7 player in the country in the 2016 class. Fellow Maryland recruits Jenna Staiti (No. 17), Kaila Charles (No. 25), Blair Watson (28) and Stephanie Jones (No. 51) also are highly regarded.
“(Destiny) is the ultimate point guard. She just has a phenomenal feel of when to score and when to pass,” Frese said. “She knows how to feed each player with the different pass that is right for them, and then obviously (she) has a beautiful stroke.
“She’s a matchup nightmare. Do you play her to score or do you play her to pass? Most point guards are one or the other — pass first or score first. She’s got the perfect combination of both, so I think that’s what makes her so dangerous and why she’s so talented.”
Maryland won Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships this season, but lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Washington on Monday after making Final Four appearances the previous two seasons.
“To me, in a way, that’s kind of like fuel, even though I’m not there,” said Slocum, who originally committed to Washington as a junior. “It’s something that I have to put on my shoulders, being a part of that team next year. I am excited to raise the bar. Go there, be on that stage and just really show people that what happened (against Washington) is something that’s not going to happen for the next four years as long as the girls that I am going in with will be there, too.”
Before she arrives for summer school at Maryland on June 18, Slocum will participate in several all-star events for high school seniors, beginning with the 15th annual McDonald’s All-American Game on Wednesday in Chicago. The game will be broadcast live at 4:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU.
She’ll be in Houston on Friday — the weekend of the men’s Final Four, also in Houston — for the American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships. A portion of the contest will be televised between 1:30 and 3 p.m. MT on April 3 on CBS.
Slocum has been invited to the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15 at the Barclays Center in New York. Like the McDonald’s All-American Game, top recruits from across the country will participate.
“You really only hear about coaches who have done a lot for women’s basketball, like Pat Summitt or Geno Auriemma,” Slocum said. “I want to be a player who does something to change the way people view girls basketball.
“I’m hoping one day, hopefully, that it will be on the same level as men’s basketball. I want to be one of those people who help it get there and show people that we work just as hard to get where we are and it takes just as much dedication and hard work.”
There are few — if any — accolades left for Slocum to attain in her Idaho prep career. She is a Naismith Trophy Girl’s All-American and National Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American. She set school records for points (2,281), rebounds (510), assists (442) and steals (304) in a career.
The Mountain View Hall of Fame committee is discussing the possibility of retiring her No. 24 jersey.
Many new opportunities await in Maryland.
“I never really set goals for the individual stuff, because I feel like if I work hard on the team stuff, the individual stuff will come,’’ Slocum said.
“I’d say my goals are to win a national championship, win a Big Ten championship, hopefully all four years, but that’s just me being me. I know it’s going to be tough.”
Destiny Slocum file
- Senior averages: 25.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.2 steals per game
- Career totals: 2,281 points, 510 rebounds, 442 assists and 304 steals
- Wins: 88 in four seasons
- League awards: Three-time 5A SIC player of year
- Team titles: Two 5A District Three Tournament championships and two 5A state championships
- State honors: Two-time All-Idaho and Gatorade Idaho player of year
- National honors: McDonald’s, Naismith and NWBCA All-American; member of Team USA’s FIBA U-19 World Championship team