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