Experience lights path to maturity


George Morin / The Advocate

Comet guard Daizah Pounds drives past Viking forward Miranda Nelson during Contra Costa College’s NorCal Regional playoff game against Diablo Valley College at DVC on Feb. 26.

By Xavier Johnson, Staff Writer

Basketball players are forced to be versatile in their set of skills, as they have to play offense as well as defense. Contra Costa College sophomore Daizah Pounds represents that versatility during games and in her coursework.

Pounds played guard for a women’s basketball team that made the second round of the playoffs and won a Bay Valley Conference Championship this season. The All-Conference player finished the season averaging 12 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game and had two triple doubles.

The Comet combo guard contributed to the team throughout her final season as a Comet in every way she could. 

“I pride myself in being a versatile player,” Pounds said. “I want to do anything and everything for my team, for the win and for our squad’s success.”

Pounds attended Pinole Valley High School for her first three years of high school and graduated from Deer Valley High School in 2014 after a year there.

“During my senior year I didn’t play much. I had to build confidence playing college ball because of all the demoralizing transition I went through in my senior year,” Pounds said.

Comets women’s basketball coach Paul DeBolt said the main obstacle to Pounds’ success was building her confidence on the court.

Coming into college basketball after getting only a few minutes of playing time in high school games was an overwhelming transition, Pounds said.

“College ball demands maturity,” Pounds said. “This level has made me respect the game so much more.”

Pounds developed into a great player and started just about every game during both her freshman and sophomore seasons. She was team captain this season.

“(Pounds) became one of our best guards,” DeBolt said. “She would have fit in with any of our great teams of the past.”

As a sophomore Pounds approaches each basketball game with quiet confidence and thoughtfulness that can be seen in seasoned athletes. She said each week is planned to maximize mental clarity and physical health.

As team captain, she said instilling a thoughtful approach to the game and an “act-first” attitude in the team is important.

Pounds said she wants to establish a lead early in each game. She said she believes in the power of early momentum.

“I want the other team to think that they do not deserve to play with you by the end of the first quarter,” Pounds said.

“Pounds plays great with the team,” Comet forward Jacqie Moody said. “We play in sync (with one another).”

Pounds said she prides herself in being physically fit. She said she loves running and going on hikes. She said she focuses on ending each game with the same intensity she had at the outset.

This emphasis on mental acuity also manifests itself in another way through her love for the written word and entrepreneurship. Pounds switched her major from kinesiology to business management to be able to nurture the creative side of her personality. 

An honor student with a GPA above 3.9, Pounds said she would like to go to Arizona State University or Michigan State.

She said she wants to start a business that involves her passion for fitness.

Eating healthy and exercising are a constant fixture in Pounds’ daily life. Pounds said she wants to open a health club restaurant that caters to all people regardless of their age.

Outside of basketball and business, Pounds said she loves reading and writing.

“I always wanted to just speak out but I never had the courage to do it so I began writing,” she said. “I have journals filled with poems and writings.”

Raised in Berkeley and Richmond, Pounds said she feels conflict between the two places she was raised.

“In Richmond I feel at home with all my friends,” she said. “In Berkeley I feel free. I feel like I can be creative and wild.”

Moody said, “When I first met (Pounds) I thought she was arrogant but once I got to know her she could bring a smile out of anybody.”

She said Pounds can be sociable and humorous but also hold down a serious conversation and empathize.

Pounds said she approaches academics with the same careful consideration as basketball. She said academics are equally as important as basketball, as at any given time athletics could be taken away.

Pounds helped the Comets win the BVC Championship this year with an overall record of 21-10, 11-1 in conference.

The Comets crashed out of an historic intradistrict overtime playoff game 82-80 at Diablo Valley College in the second round of the women’s basketball NorCal Regional Playoffs on Feb. 26.

Pounds said she approaches each loss with the thoughtfulness that has propelled her to where she is today.

She said losses hurt because she puts so much into every game, but she said losses are also a valuable learning experience.

“I ask why we lost that game and in what aspects were we worse or better than the other team,” Pounds said. “If we are going to lose again we will not lose in that same way.”