Shyla Heal's journey through basketball

She will be one of many Flames players who will be assisting the Hoops Capital Academy to hone the skills of the next generation of basketball players in NSW. Read more about the Academy here.

The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have a wealth of young talent this season, but none have stood out more than Shyla Heal.

Heal won the WNBL ‘s Youth Player of the Year and made All-WNBL Second Team last season with the Townville Fire, she was a key piece that got the Fire to the WNBL Grand Final last season. This season she has been a superstar, averaging 15.4 points per game and 3.9 assists she is in contention for an All-WNBL team again this season.

She will be one of many Flames players who will be assisting the Hoops Capital Academy to hone the skills of the next generation of basketball players in NSW. Read more about the Academy here.

That success, as well as many successful stints with the national team, got Heal drafted with the 8th overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky last year.

But her debut as a professional player began when she was only 14 years old. She was a development player with the now-defunct South East Queensland Stars in the 2015-2016 WNBL season. Shyla later played for the Perth Lynx and the Bendigo Spirit before her breakout season with the Fire, and has continued that jaw-dropping play this season with the Flames.

REGISTER FOR TERM TWO PROGRAMS AND HOLIDAY PROGRAMS HERE

Shyla attended the Lake Ginninderra College, which often is linked with at the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS). Her father, Australian basketball legend Shane Heal, attended the school 30 years prior. Shane has coached Shyla for many years, first professionally with the Stars and now as the Flames head coach.

Like her father, Shyla has represented Australia multiple times. With her international debut coming in the 2017 FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship, where the Sapphires won gold and Heal was named match MVP.

Heal also won gold with the 2018 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship, won bronze in the Under-17 World Cup and was awarded an All-Tournament team selection. She last played for Australia in the 2019 Under-19 World Cup where the Gems won silver.

Heal just missed being selected for the Opals’ 2020 Tokyo team, that gave Heal even more motivation this year. Which led her to being selected for the Opals team that went to Serbia for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

All of that success culminated in Heal being drafted and being one of the youngest players in the WNBA last season. Due to visa restrictions, Heal had no pre-season practice with the team and was eventually traded to the Dallas Wings and cut after only 31 minutes of play.

Heal was heartbroken. Days before she had been cut from the Opals squad for Tokyo. She was given the news just before boarding a plane for her first away game in Phoenix.

“I was so shocked. I just did not see it coming,” Heal told Stellar Magazine.

“And the worst part was it was 3 am back home. So, I was trying to call my family and no-one was answering. I just sat on the floor [crying] for ages.”

That was a turning point for Heal, she spent the offseason working with Shane Heal to come back this WNBL season as a superstar. And she’s mostly certainly done that.

Shyla Heal is one of many Flames players and coaches who are involved in the Hoops Capital Academy. The players often appear in training sessions passing on their wisdom and running clinics. To learn more about the Academy click here or go to the home page of the website.

Back to stories