Canes Focus: Suriya McGuire
By David Villavicencio
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Leaving for college is tough for manyathletes.
While the excitement of participating in college sports canbe uplifting, many athletes struggle with leaving family and friends behind tofurther their athletic and academic careers.
Miami guard Suriya McGuire was a star at Roosevelt High inMinneapolis, Minn., but the 5-foot-11 guard decided she wanted to playcollegiately for the Hurricanes.
Like many college athletes around the country, McGuire wasleaving her family and friends behind to pursue a college degree and athleticcareer. But the sophomore was leaving behind her best friend and closestconfidant, her mother, Anjali.
“It’s always been me and my mother,” Suriya said.
The two have been inseparable, moving from city to citybecause of Anjali’s job as an on-air radio personality. When Suriya decided she was going to attendMiami, both McGuires wondered what it would be like to be apart. Anjaliadmitted that she worried about how different it would be without Suriyaaround.
“Suriya is everything to me,” Anjali said. “My career isvery important to me but my number one job has always been being her mom. I wasalways including her in anything that I did. She is always with me. People saywe are connected at the hip. She is my best friend. She’s not just mydaughter.”
The two did not have to worry for long, as Anjali found anopening at 95.7 The Beat in Tampa Bay. “Anjali the Queen B” moved to Florida tobe closer to Suriya and she says the two of them could not be happier.
“I moved here because of her,” Anjali said. “Part of meleft, so I left Minneapolis to specifically be with her. Tampa was the closestI could get and it’s such a blessing to be able to come see her. It wasdefinitely worth moving and being closer to her.”
The two speak daily on the phone and Anjali has come tovisit Suriya at Miami “at least seven times.” Anjali was in attendance forSunday’s game against North Carolina and was incredibly proud to see herdaughter fulfilling her dream.
“It’s such a blessing to see her succeed,” Anjali said.”This is what she has worked so hard for. It’s her passion. When I used to comehome from work at two o’clock in the morning, she would ask if we could gooutside and shoot. She would go to bed with the basketball. This is what she’salways wanted and always worked for.”
McGuire has provided key contributions to the Canes thisseason. Her tenacious defense has been instrumental in several Miami victories.Suriya has also hit a pair of game-winning shots, most recently in a win overWake Forest on January 24.
“I think I’ve matured a lot,” Suriya said. “I still have alot of growing to do, but compared to last year, I’ve grown. I’ve been in anumerous situations where I could have either broke or progressed and I feellike I’ve been growing and progressing.”
Suriya admits that she would like to be more confident onthe court, but she struggles to maintain her confidence at a high level.
“It’s always been that way for me,” McGuire said. “It’s notlike I lost confidence when I got to college, I’ve been this way my whole life.I’m very passive. Everyone says ‘you’re right there, just shoot.’ I’ve alwaysbeen the player to pass first and not shoot. It’s always been a confidencething for me.”
McGuire feels that a talk with her mother or some time withmembers of her Miami family help get her confidence back on track.
“I talk to my mother a lot,” McGuire said. “The coaches tryto keep me in it and so do my teammates.”
Two teammates who McGuire turns to frequently are senior captain Morgan Stromanand junior guard Krystal Saunders.
“I got attached to Stro before I even got to school,”McGuire said. “She kept communicating with me and trying to get me to comehere. We just clicked. People say thatwe should be sisters. We say the same things and finish each other’ssentences.”
Stroman felt a connection with McGuire from the minute thetwo met during McGuire’s recruiting visit to Miami.
“When she first got here, we noticed that we had the samepersonality,” Stroman said. “She wasn’t even my recruit. I was just helpingout, but we connected. Once she got here, we hung out more and developed thatfriendship and bond. That’s like my sister on the team. I could tell her justabout anything and be comfortable.”
While McGuire and Stroman became close friends instantly,McGuire’s relationship with Saunders took more time to develop.
“Me and Krystal got close with time,” McGuire said. “She wasmy teammate and we were cool, but now, she is one of my best friends. It doesn’tmatter what it is, she will let you know what you need to know. That helps me.I like that she is honest with me.”
Beyond being honest with McGuire, Saunders also helps keep avery emotional McGuire calm and focused.
“I’m a very emotional player,” McGuire said. “When I don’tmake a shot, you’re going to know. When I don’t get a steal, you’re going toknow. When I do get it done, you’re going to know, too. Krystal Saunders is theone that keeps me calm on the court and talks me through some things.”
McGuire would like to control her emotions a bit better andimprove on her jump shot. But the talented guard believes she can make thebiggest contribution to Miami basketball by maturing as a player and a person.
“I hope that I keep progressing,” McGuire said. “I feel likeevery year I have grown and I want to continue to mature. I feel like I can dothat and I want to continue to see myself progress and the team progress.”
Anjali is confident that her daughter will continue toimprove on and off the court and accomplish her goals.
“She is my greatest joy, my greatest accomplishment and mygreatest legacy,” McGuire said. “I feel like the best is yet to come.”