Lake Norman & Mooresville

Freshman shows the way for young Huskies

Anna Diggs may be a freshman, but the point guard is playing well beyond her years.

The 14-year-old has led a surprising first-year Hough team to a great start.

Diggs leads the way in scoring, averaging nearly 18 points just months removed from starring at Bradley Middle in Huntersville.

Although most wouldn't notice by the way she's playing, Diggs said the transition between middle and high school basketball has been a big one.

"The game is played a lot faster and better," she said. "But I want to play against the best competition I can."

No matter who the competition is, Diggs has looked good, being routinely the main scoring option for a young Huskies team that started off the season 7-3 (2-1 in the I-Meck Conference) with wins over North Mecklenburg, Olympic and Providence already.

Hough girls' basketball coach Sonja Tate, who also had the task of starting the Ardrey Kell girls' basketball program when the south Charlotte school opened in 2006, hasn't been surprised with her team's hot start.

"Any time you coach a team, I think it is only natural to have high expectations," she said. "I liked what I saw when I first got together with the team this summer. I think we have started out really strong, but we are still a work in progress and still have a long way to go."

Tate said, like her team, Diggs has shown a lot of promise yet still has a lot of room for improvement.

Diggs couldn't have a better coach to help her get better, as Tate played college basketball at Arkansas State before going onto the WNBA for two seasons with the Minnesota Lynx.

Like Diggs, Tate played point guard and shooting guard at the collegiate and professional levels.

"Playing for coach has been a great thing for me," said Diggs. "She understands what we're going through because she has done it herself. I think there is a lot she can teach me about the game."

Tate says Diggs' biggest strength to this point is her knowledge of the game and her outside shooting. Now, Tate hopes to help her round out her game.

"(Diggs) is off to a phenomenal start," said Tate.

"But I think she can be an even better player and a more complete playmaker, where she not only makes herself better, but also her teammates."

Diggs, who had 25 points against Lake Norman Charter and 22 points against Anson Senior, knows she will need to expand her game to become a better basketball player.

She gets to do that with a young team that includes five freshman, three sophomores and two juniors.

Diggs, fellow freshman Olivia Demarcus, Julia Brown and Kelsey Dean as well as sophomore Brandi Arey, are among the core players for the Huskies who have played together for several years on the Lake Norman Magic AAU team.

That chemistry has allowed Diggs and company to progress faster than most first-year teams.

But with success comes dealing with more attention from your opponents and Diggs is beginning to see coaches plan defensively against her because of her reputation.

"Teams are already starting to focus on her," said Tate. "Now, she has to adjust and learn to play through it and make plays for herself and her teammates."

Diggs and Tate have gone through some "tough love" in the coach's attempt to help her player move from shooting guard, her natural position, to point guard.

Along the way, the quiet Diggs has become one of the team's vocal leaders even though she's only a freshman.

"We are all in our first year at Hough, so what class you're in really doesn't matter," said Tate.

"Anna is becoming a better leader and player with every game. With time, I think she is going to become one of the better players around."