Desta Trammell is a name to remember. Despite being only a middle schooler from a town not much bigger than Mayberry she is making an impact on the AAU circuit.
Trammell hails from Robbinsville, North Carolina, which is near the Tennessee border. Its most famous resident is fabled country singer Ronnie Milsap.
When she takes to the basketball court it is almost like a song to those who watch her play.
While she is short in statue, her game is large in both talent and heart. It has not escaped the attention of those who have to compete against her.
The daughter of Ritchie Trammell, a former wrestler at the University of North Carolina, she actually received a lot of her athletic inspiration from her sister Tacey Trammell, who played basketball collegiately at UNC Asheville.
As Tacey matriculated from middle school through college, she always made a point to include her sister in her basketball routine. It was inspiring for Desta, and she saw that size does not have to be a limitation.
“Ever since I can remember my sister was always in the gym shooting,” Trammell said. “It has just always been a part of my life.”
“I remember she always let me do the drills with her,” Trammell recalled. “I just started to love it. It was awesome to see her go from a little, small town like Robbinsville to college. She is short, but she could play and that is what gave me a lot of inspiration. You don’t have to be tall to play.”
Like her sister, she hopes to play college basketball in the future.
“I love UConn and I really like Mississippi State’s guards,” Trammell said. “Those teams are fun to watch. When I get to college I hope to study something in the medical field, at least that is what I am thinking right now.”
Before she can become college bound there is the matter of attending high school. Trammell will enter eighth grade in the 2018-19 academic year. After that, she will move on to Robbinsville High School, a place she is quite familiar with.
“I go to all the home games,” Trammell said of her future high school. “I am very excited about it. The coach there played at Furman so she is very knowledgeable.It is a great place.”
In the meantime there is a ton of AAU ball. Trammell, who plays for Lady Royals, feels that the circuit also is an ideal way to expand her game.
One way she has grown with her club is building her communication skills on the court.
“I am pretty vocal,” Trammell explained. “I take pride in being sort of like a coach on the floor. If someone is doing something wrong I will tell them what they are doing and try to get them back in place.
“At first I was quiet and had to work at it but it comes pretty natural now. To be a point guard you have to talk so you have to be vocal.”
Trammell considers Lady Royals the perfect fit for her AAU needs. The club accentuates drilling on weaknesses and does not let its players lean on strengths.
“The Royals are always pushing me,” Trammell said. “When there is a challenge, we don’t back down. [The coaches] always take us out of our comfort zone and push us. I like that a lot. They don’t settle and always push us to get better.
“We have grit,” Trammell added. “We urge each other to never quit fighting. We always keep playing and even if we are going lose we finish playing hard. We never take a possession off.”
Other have taken notice.
“Lady Royals are such a good team,” Carolina Elite head coach Lyn Adams said. “It is fun to play them. Desta is such a little warrior out there. She never backs down. There have been times where I have seen her will her team to victory when it did not seem like it was possible. We have a lot of respect for her and her team.”
As the summer progresses, Trammell is hopeful to draw on that will to lead her team to titles, including in the big events.
The girl from a small town is not backing down from anyone.
“We play a lot this summer and we go to nationals,’ Trammell said. “We play every weekend and then at nationals and some more after that. We can do well.”