In 2010, Sydney Brock was in fourth grade when she decided she was going to play basketball in college. On Thursday afternoon that dream became a reality when she signed her letter of intent to play for the NCAA Division III University of Texas at Dallas.
Although Brock is the youngest of five, this day was extra sweet for her father Cedric. Although her father served 23 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 2013, he was able to witness most of her basketball journey.
“I was always gone but I shared most of her basketball career from middle school on, which I think was the most important times in her life,” he said.
And it hasn’t been an easy road as her mother Audra remembers all those who doubted Brock’s ability to continue to play at the next level.
“She worked extremely hard year in and year out,” she said of how Brock would work to improve on any and all critiques her coaches gave her. “Her game has evolved tremendously.
“Many people said they only wanted her to work in the post, and she worked on many facets of the game, so it’s just amazing to see her set goals and reach them.”
Reaching goals she sets her eyes on isn’t something new for the Ellison forward, who played on varsity for two years and made back-to-back
playoff appearances and won consecutive district titles with the Lady Eagles.
“She’s a coach’s dream,” Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon said of Brock. “She works extremely hard in the gym, she’s a great young lady, and I’m very proud of her.”
One moment from the Lady Eagles’ 29-9 season that stands out to McKinnon in regards to Brock’s ability to play collegiate ball was their trip to the Katy Tournament in December.
“We had been running a play that was guard-oriented,” she said, explaining her decision to put Brock on the outside to be open for the deep shot. “I knew she had been working hard, and I knew they wouldn’t be ready for this, and it would work.
“When we put Sydney out there, she hit three or four 3-pointers that game,” McKinnon said thinking back to that defining moment.
In that game, Brock showed that she can play various roles from hitting shots from the outside to hustling down the court to being ready underneath for rebounds and shots.
“I thought, she’s special and she’s coming into her own,” McKinnon recalled.
“She’s been a vital part of our success, and she’s going to be a vital part of UT-Dallas.”
Last fall, before the season started, Brock knew that UT-Dallas was for her when she took a campus tour and learned the school’s tradition of helping new graduates enter the workforce.
On the court, playing for the Comets appeared to be an obvious fit.
“I’m a small post, so I do a lot of guard work and post work,” Brock said, “and that’s a system that they run, so I fit that system perfectly.”
Surrounded by her family and in front of all her friends, she put ink to paper, signing her letter of intent at the Tommie Harris Family Recreation Center at the Lions Park.
For her father, this moment was proof of life coming full circle. Cedric reflected on once being a Division I prospect but not taking the chance and was determined not to let the opportunity slip by his daughter.
“It’s going to be surreal to me,” he said, “especially to see her in a college uniform.”
With her senior prom on the horizon this Saturday and graduation invitations already sent out, Cedric know his job is never done as her father but has words of wisdom to leave her with before her next chapter begins.
“Continue to work hard and grind, stay focused on the bigger picture which is getting your degree in sports psychology and be a better person in the community,” he said. “And don’t be afraid to fail because after failure comes greatness.”