CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Former Clovis High basketball standout Jaye Crockett attempts to block a shot during a 4-on-4 co-ed volleyball match on Saturday at Hillcrest Park.
Cisti Greenwalt figures she’s given it everything she had trying to make it in women’s professional basketball. It’s time for her to move on with her life.
At 6-foot-5, Greenwalt led Clovis High to back-to-back girls state basketball championships in 1999 and 2000, and a third-place finish in 2001. She went on to set the Big 12 women’s career blocked shots record at Texas Tech, and had a cup of coffee in the WNBA with the Seattle Storm.
Now she’s the mother of a 10-week-old daughter, Caydance, and admits it’s changed her perspective.
Greenwalt, probably the most prolific player in Clovis High girls basketball history, participated in a 4-on-4 sand volleyball tournament Saturday sponsored by the Lady Wildcats’ volleyball booster club at Hillcrest Park. A number of former Wildcats and Lady Cats took part in the day-long event to help raise funds for the program.
After two seasons of playing pro ball in China, the 28-year-old Greenwalt said she returned for good in March 2010.
“Last year was my last time,” Greenwalt said of pro ball. “I’ll let (Caydence) take it. I’ve done a lot of things other people haven’t done, so I can always say I’ve tried.”
She said her biggest problem in the WNBA was the size — mainly width — of the opposing players.
“Overseas, it was much easier on my body,” she said. “Having (a child) changes my life.
“I didn’t want to (play basketball) forever. I wanted a family and I wanted to settle down.”
She’s working at Fat Boys restaurant as a waitress while trying to decide what to do with her future.
“I’m just enjoying being a mom,” she said.
Jaye Crockett, a 2009 CHS grad now playing basketball at Texas Tech, was getting his first taste of volleyball.
“I’ve learned a lot today about volleyball as far as the rules,” said the 6-foot-7, 195-pound Crockett, whose sister plays for the Lady Cats.
Crockett started two games last season as a redshirt freshman at Tech, and with seven of last year’s players having moved on he expects to start this season under new coach Billy Gillispie. Clovis native Bubba Jennings is the only holdover from the previous Red Raiders staff under Pat Knight.
“I think they’ll push us and make us go as hard as we can,” Crockett said. “We’re really more of a family than we’ve been, and this is just the summer.”
Also back for the event were 2008 grads Jaden Isler and Bryce Hill, who led the Cats to the Class 5A state finals as seniors. Both players will be at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, this season, playing for Jaden’s dad and former CHS coach J.D. Isler, who took the job in May.
Hill, who was at Texas Wesleyan last year, said he’s anxious for the reunion.
“That’s what I’ve always wanted, to play for him again,” he said. “He’s the best coach I’ve ever hard and to play for him again means a lot.”
Jaden Isler, who spent one year at Lubbock Christian and another at Jacksonville before moving on to McMurry last season, averaged around 12 points and four assists as McMurry reached the NCAA Division II finals for the first time in 10 years.
He signed with Division I Charleston Southern out of high school, but went to LCU after undergoing a heart issue in the spring of 2008 which nearly took his life.
He says he’s fully recovered.
“They were never able to find what was wrong,” Isler said. “It was just a freak thing. My heart (now) is perfectly healthy.”
Isler’s sister is also a member of the CHS volleyball team.
“I enjoy helping out any sports team from Clovis,” he said.
Booster club president Mike Mendoza said the club hopes to make it an annual event, noting 10 women’s teams and 17 co-ed teams participated.
“Each year it’s harder and harder to raise money,” Mendoza said. “You can’t just go ask businesses for money all the time. You’ve got to figure out some ways to raise money.”