“I want people to know that I LIKE TO WIN, BUT HATE TO LOSE”
These are words that were communicated as strong and as firm as her handshake. Eternati Willock (6’2″, F, Advantage Titans/A-Game, 2015) is a 14 year old, Grade 9 student who attends Pope John Paul II Catholic High School in Scarborough, ON. Although she has only been playing the game for 3 years, she is as focused and as driven as those well beyond her years, yielding very promising results.
“When I am playing, I never want to lose and I get so focused on winning that I get very hard on myself and sometimes others on the court.” She went on to say, “I have high expectations for myself and I expect to win each time I play so when it doesn’t happen it forces me to work harder or get the team to work harder.”
That ‘like to win vs hating to lose’ question just so happened to be the very question her rep and AAU Coach, Chris Francis asked her when he first started coaching her in 2011.
“Right away she said I hate to lose. And I think that just shows the type of kid that she is. The fact that other people are better than her or people can get to say ‘I beat you’ bothers her more than anything. Other kids come in hoping to win, she comes in the game expecting to win. So if she doesn’t win, that really bothers her.”
Early last year as a 13 year old, Willock was selected to play her with the Canadian Girls’ U16 Cadette National Team that Bronze medalled in Mexico this past June. Later on that summer, she travelled with her AAU Summer team, A-Game, showing extremely well in tournaments such as the Run for the Roses in Lexington, Kentucky and the Battle of New York in NYC. Not to be outdone in the fall, she continued to turn more heads this fall as her strong Pope John Paul Junior team did very well, even going as far as becoming Champions of a Senior Tournament.
Off the court, Eternati can be described as a well mannered, fun-loving kid that enjoys watching movies, listening to music and hanging out with teammates. But, its having the comfort and closeness of her famliy that helps to make her world.
“My family supports me and are the ones that really encourage me to be the best that I can.”
For one, it does help for her to have a sister, Destiny, on her school and rep teams. Destiny, is a year older and is a welcomed teamate and confidant.
“My sister and I are best friends,” says Eternati. “We grew up with people thinking we were twins, we share everything.”
It also helps that her father, Trevor Willock, has seen a lot of the struggle, being himself a star High School basketball player. The senior Willock also played Canadian University basketball with the UPEI Panthers, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and is someone that Eternati looks to for support and advice.
Eternati Willock’s favorite NBA players are Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Ray Allen, and Larry Bird. But the player she would most like to emulate the most is Kevin Durant. “I would like my game to be like Kevin Durant because he is such a versatile player,” she says. Quite fitting as a lot of his qualities can be identified in her game already. Characteristics such as the two of them having long slender builds, speedy, tough defenders as well as both possessing very good post up moves are just a few of the similarities that come to mind.
Her size, her ability to get up and down the court and the way that she can complete around the basket has Coach Chris Francis quite pleased.
“I think that’s her biggest thing…she is a tall player, but at the same time, she adds a lot of quickness and athleticism in the front court and she makes the game a lot easier for her teammates because she gets them open shots and she gets us a lot of extra possessions.”
Wanting to equip Eternati with a full arsenal, Francis is also looking to continue to build on her assets in order to round out her game.
“Because of her athleticism and her quickness, we’re trying to play her on the wing more because we don’t want to sit her in the post and say that’s were you’ve gotta be. At first it starts in practice, and we’ll try to then transfer it to the game. So right now we’re trying to get her more comfortable playing on the wing.”
But throughout it all, she does not allow her gifts to allow her to get too far ahead of herself. Despite already garnering a ton of interest from a number of schools hoping to add her to their team in 2015, Eternati remains humble and and focused
“I don’t really see the ‘hype’ – I don’t pay too much attention.”
With her determined, focused, hardworking attitude, she is one prospect that is quite set to do what it takes to avoid her hate for losing.
Besides vying for a Provincial Championship this Spring with her Advantage Titans rep team, this top 2015 prospect is looking forward to travelling with her A-Game AAU squad that is looking to attend a number of U.S. tournaments this summer.