"On my first ever varsity basketball game, I was really nervous because those girls were like six-foot! But then, after I scored my first bucket, I'm like 'You know what? I got this.'"
Anyla 'AP' Parker may be just 10 years old but she's already got her sight set on some big basketball dreams. Few dare to underestimate the fourth grader on the basketball court as with her phenomenal courage and hard work, she's already a star player on her school's varsity basketball team. "On my first ever varsity basketball game, I was really nervous because those girls were like six-foot! But then, after I scored my first bucket, I'm like 'You know what? I got this,'" the prodigy told Good Morning America. According to Anyla's mom and coach, Nadine Serrano, the youngster first picked up a basketball at the age of two.
Serrano, otherwise known as "Coach Mommy," said: "We have hardwood floors [at home]. She is bouncing that ball constantly. In front of the TV, walking to her bedroom, [etc.]" Anyla reportedly joined Excel Christian Academy's Spartans Varsity Basketball team when Serrano took over as the Spartans head coach amid a shortage of players. "I did tell her, I said 'You gotta work really hard. So she showed up and she earned it," the proud mom gushed about her daughter. "She worked really hard. She showed that she took herself serious." As far as the young player's teammates are concerned, Anyla basically has an entire team of big sisters watching her back. "When I fall down, they ask me if I'm okay," Anyla said with a smile. "They treat me like I'm their age."
"I was really happy but she told me that I have to work really hard to make it," Anyla told FOX 13 Sports. "I felt the fear, but I pushed through it anyway. That's where courage comes in." Although those unfamiliar with the basketball prodigy make the mistake of taking it easy on her at the beginning, they soon realize that she is a force to be reckoned with. "When she was five years old she was going up against seven, and eight-year-old boys at the rec league for CSU," Serrano recalled. "You heard parents say 'get the girl, get the girl,' and she just couldn't be stopped. I knew right then that this was for her."
"The first game that we played they 'boxed in one' her which means they just completely face guarded her," she added. "[They] didn't want her to touch the ball." Anyla, who is also the only girl on both of her all-boys AAU teams, credits her mom for her courage on the basketball court. "She told me to never give up when it's hard. She taught me, she would never ever let me give up because if I did give up now, I would give up when I'm older. That's something that is way harder," she said of her Coach Mommy. "These last few years coaching and being a mommy at the same time, has been a journey of discovery," said Serrano. "My bond with [Anyla] is beyond words and sounds. It's something that you gotta experience for yourself."
"I want her to learn how to build her life around her peace, and her joy, and her fulfillment, and happiness," added Serrano, who says she is prepared to support her daughter in whatever path she chooses. Meanwhile, Anyla is pretty clear on what she hopes to achieve in the coming years. "One is to be in the NBA. To be the first girl in the NBA. And also, one of my goals is to dunk in 6th grade," she confidently proclaimed.