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Burroughs’ Gaines moving on

Jeff Tully

Tulyah Gaines, one of the most successful girls’ basketball players

in Burroughs High history, will not be returning to the school for

her senior year, Indian Coach Doug Nicol confirmed Monday.

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Gaines, a 5-foot-8 point guard and the Leader’s 2002-03 Female

Athlete of the Year, will attend high school in Las Vegas to be close

to her mother and brother.

“From what I know, this was a non-basketball decision for Tulyah

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and her family,” Nicol said. “It was more about Tulyah being close to

her mother and her brother for a year before she moves on to college.

“I’m not even looking at this as a loss from a basketball

standpoint. But don’t get me wrong, we will definitely miss her on

our team.

“However, it’s a much bigger loss for the school and for the

people who know Tulyah. She is so popular and she’s such a good

student (3.7 grade- point average), it is a very big loss for

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Burroughs.”

Nicol said he was able to see Gaines -- who has verbally committed

to University of Notre Dame -- one last time before she left when the

player stopped by the coach’s house Monday to say goodbye.

Because she is in the process of moving, Gaines has been difficult

to reach, and the Leader’s attempts to contact her have been

unsuccessful.

“It’s very tough to see her go,” Nicol said. “We have become very

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close over her three years here at the school. She is just a great

person and this is a sad day for me for sure.”

The situation that led to Gains’ leaving Burroughs began almost

three months ago when Tulyah, her brother Jashaad and mother Pha were

given a 60-day notice to vacate their Burbank apartment. Pha was laid

off from her job two weeks prior and the combination of the two

setbacks left the Gaines family in peril.

Since losing her job, Pha has been looking for work and trying to

find a place to live in Burbank so Tulyah could stay at Burroughs and

Jashaad could continue attending Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, where he is

a talented football player.

However, without a steady income, the family had a problem finding

an apartment in the city.

Nicol said Pha was able to finally find a job in Las Vegas and the

family moved to Nevada earlier this week.

“Tulyah will be probably be playing for Cheyenne High in Las

Vegas, which is not a real powerful basketball school,” Nicol said.

“She could have gone to Centennial High out there, which is known for

its basketball. But her mother wanted to keep her and her brother

together at the same high school.

“I have no animosity toward the family for the decision. I think

Tulyah’s mother had to do what was best for the family. You can’t

fault her for that.”

Gaines -- who is regarded as one of the top 10 point guards in the

nation in the class of 2004 -- leaves Burroughs after enjoying an

outstanding junior season in 2002-03, as she proved to be one of the

best players in the tough Foothill League.

Along with being named first-team all-league, she was also an

All-CIF Southern Section Division IIA honoree, averaging 18.9 points

-- 21.6 in league -- 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.1 steals a game.

She also set a school record for assists in a season with 122.

In three seasons with the Indians, Gaines earned all-league

accolades every year.

Gaines kept busy this summer traveling around the nation playing

basketball. In addition to playing travel ball and attending

high-level camps -- including the Nike Camp in Indiana -- Gaines was

just one of 48 players invited nationally to take part in the second

annual USA Basketball Women’s Youth Development Festival in Colorado

Springs, Colo.

A year ago, Gaines and her West Coast All-Stars travel-ball team

captured a 15-and-under national championship at the Amateur Athletic

Union Nationals. It was the second national AAU gold medal for

Gaines, who won a 13-and-under title with the team in 2000.

Looking toward next season, Nicol said the departure of Gaines

will definitely impact his team.

“I think we will really miss Tulyah’s leadership and her

personality more than anything,” Nicol said. “But we should be all

right as a team. We just have to change a few things and rely more on

some of the players we have.”


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