February 11, 2015

Silver playing like gold

Kevin McCarthy

Mandy Silver is all in with whatever she undertakes. The results? Try huge numbers across the stat sheet as a player while coaching and refereeing youth basketball games when not playing or practicing, as well as being distinguished in the classroom.

photo of Mandy Silver

The Scotts Valley High senior is currently averaging 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, six steals and 5.1 assists a contest on an 18-2, 9-0 squad. This on a team that continues to excel despite graduating the co-MVPs of the Santa Cruz County Athletic League.

In her so-called free time, she coaches a fifth and sixth grade boys team and referees seventh and eighth grade boys basketball games in the Scotts Valley Recreation League. Always working to benefit from her experiences, she explained, “the refereeing has really helped my understanding of the game.”"

Silver also sports a 4.3 grade point average. How does she accomplish all this?

It's not necessarily a mantra but it's terrifically insightful for a teenager: “always do your best because you're setting a precedent and showing leadership.”

However, not all has come early and easily for her. “I'm very good on defense—I have a passion for defense and an instinct for the ball in getting deflections and steals. But I was very timid my freshman year. I played for years but hadn't come into my skills set as yet.”

So she made her bones “with defending and assists. I was starting and feeding the offense but not contributing points.” Facilitating was her modus operandi.

As a junior, “creating off the dribble” became her offensive signature. As a slasher, “I didn't shoot the three a lot.”

So she did something about that weakness. “I definitely improved my outside game this summer. I worked with Tom Curtiss,” [aka The Shot Doctor, as he is known in Santa Cruz County]. Curtiss broke down her shot, rebuilt it and Silver now is a three-point threat.

She was also influenced by Wade Nakamura, who is the head girls coach at Presentation High and also operates the San Jose Metro club program. “He helped me get to where I am today because he taught how to think about the game in order to play better.”

There is also Rick Silver, her father and the coach of the Scotts Valley girls team. “My Dad has been coaching me for years with what I needed to work on so he's really developed me as a player and a person.”

According to her father, “Mandy really has a passion for the game. She loves the physical but also the intellectual. We're always watching games and talking about what happened.”

Also an accomplished middle distance runner, Silver picked up basketball beginning in the third grade. She moved into competitive play in the fourth grade.

Her best basketball moment came last season. We beat [Archbishop] Mitty in the quarter finals of the CCS open division. Asked how he reacted, Silver said, “it was a feeling of look, all of our hard work has paid off.” That success was a February 28 67-64 win.

Right now, her recruiting is mainly focused on the West Coast but she hasn't made a decision yet about her next destination.

Last summer, she interned with the Press Banner, the local newspaper, “so maybe I'll major in journalism but I'm not sure.” Whatever direction she chooses, expect her to work until she has mastered it. That's the Mandy Silver way.