De’Naya Rippey having stellar season at Cheshire Academy

De’Naya Rippey having stellar season at Cheshire Academy

De’Naya Rippey wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps, even if it meant leaving her home in Brooklyn for Cheshire.

Deron Rippey was a star on the Cheshire Academy court, eventually playing college in East Carolina and becoming a member of the Kevin Slaughter Athletic Hall of Fame in California.

He credits his move from Brooklyn to Cheshire with immeasurably changing his life for the better, and believes it will do the same for his daughter.

De’Naya, a junior, is thrilled to call home the same dish as her father did in his senior year in 1993.

“I felt compelled to do what my father did. He’s a hall of fame here and I’m proud to play where he played,” said De’Naya. “My dad asked me if I wanted to be challenged, and I like being challenged, whether it’s on the basketball court or at school. I get a lot of feedback here and I love feedback because nothing will hurt me. It will only make me better.”

Sending De’Naya to Cheshire before senior year wasn’t easy for Rippey’s parents, but it was a decision they felt they had to make.

“For me and my wife, we wanted De’Naya to be able to showcase her talent in an environment where she could continue to grow,” said Deron. “We wanted her to play basketball better but also be an ‘A’ student and be part of the same community that helped change my life.”

The pride that his daughter gets the same opportunities as him sometimes makes dad emotional.

“I was a kid from Brooklyn and attending Cheshire Academy changed my life and impacted me in ways I could never have imagined, and now 28 years later, it’s life changing De’Naya,” Deron said. “De’Naya wants to get better and Cheshire empowers her to get better on and off the pitch. She’s more driven by grades and socializing and being a family member up there. It was bigger than basketball for me and it’s bigger than basketball for her.”

Not only is Rippey growing off the court, she’s the lead, averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds per game for Cheshire Academy, which has won five of their last six games.

“De’Naya wants to play to the next level, which meant ramping up her defensive intensity, which she did,” said Cheshire Academy coach Caroline Brasca. “When De’Naya agreed to play a tough man-to-man defense, so did everyone else. De’Naya is second only to me in terms of focus and intensity when practicing. It drives all the other kids to be better and makes us a better team.”

Rippey is getting looks from mid-level Division 1 schools but is focused on the rest of the season for now.

“I want to play in college, but I’m not focused on the schools yet. I was just focused on the next day and the next game,” said De’Naya. “Graduating from Cheshire Academy is so much better than where I played in New York. It’s more challenging and aggressive and I like that. I can feel myself and my team getting better from game to game.”

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