Hailing from Sudbury, Ontario, Canadian sensation Syla Swords is among the latest additions to Michigan’s 2024-25 roster. With household ties within the recreation, basketball has all the time been part of the 6-0, 17-year-old ahead’s DNA. The Swords household is synonymous with Canadian basketball, and even after leaving Canada for the Huge Apple, Syla is aware of the place house is.
“Each time I get on the ground, I do know I’m representing a rustic, even now in highschool and [playing] American ball. I’m nonetheless generally known as the Canadian guard…[I’m] representing one thing larger than [myself],” she says.
Swords’ dad and mom, Shelley and Shawn, performed basketball at Laurentian College in Ontario, with Shawn persevering with to play professionally till he was provided a spot as Laurentian College’s head coach.
Swords credit her dad and mom for introducing each her and her youthful sister, Savannah, to basketball early on. “Going to my dad’s practices—that was the best way he would babysit us,” she says. Although Swords acknowledges that her household had a huge effect on her ardour for basketball, her love for the sport was one thing she developed on her personal. “It’s a ardour and it’s not prefer it’s not a job, which is one thing [my parents have] been actually eager on placing into our minds,” she continues. “After we lastly bought the possibility to affix our first staff, it was a no brainer. Our function fashions have been basketball gamers.”
After verbally committing to Michigan final Could, she’s retaining her eyes on the prize, which proper now means main her Lengthy Island Lutheran basketball staff to the highest of the rankings.
After her father was provided a place because the affiliate head coach for the Lengthy Island Nets in August, the Swords household packed up and headed to New York, the place the sisters began hooping at Lengthy Island Lutheran Excessive College. “We had no thought about something New York Metropolis coming in from a small city in Northern Ontario,” she says.
Although her finish aim has all the time been following in her father’s footsteps by representing Canada within the Olympics, Syla’s fast objectives are barely extra consultant of your strange highschool senior. “I’m planning on majoring in enterprise [at Michigan]…so I’m simply ending up my essays proper now to submit subsequent week,” she says. “That’s been primary on my checklist.”
When she’s not hooping or engaged on her Widespread App, you will discover Swords crushing the competitors (her household) in video games of Catan throughout household recreation nights. As a result of on the finish of the day, it’s all the time been about household. As she enters her final season of enjoying highschool basketball together with her sister, Swords displays on the significance of getting household on her aspect on the court docket.
“It’s been wonderful having a built-in finest buddy, a built-in coaching companion,” Syla says. “I all the time say we’re one another’s largest rivals, however we’re additionally one another’s largest supporters.”
Till her debut at Michigan, Swords is engaged on taking her recreation to the following degree by turning into extra shifty, establishing herself rapidly on her first step and enhancing her reads of the protection. When talking about any considerations for her collegiate profession and past, Swords is aware of it received’t be simple. However Ontario’s very personal isn’t any stranger to vary.
“After all, I’m going to fail at various things,” she says, “however I’m simply excited to get myself into that setting.” One among Swords function fashions is Seattle Storm level guard and fellow Canadian, Kia Nurse. “She’s the place I need to be within the subsequent 10-15 years. Simply rising up, watching her do what she’s executed for Workforce Canada, it’s been actually enjoyable. Hopefully I can comply with her path.”
Photographs by Marcus Stevens.