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Future looks bright for two Seminoles at NSU University School

NSU University School seventh graders Charleze Osceola, left, and Tatum Billie recently finished their first seasons on the school’s varsity girls basketball team. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

DAVIE — For NSU University School girls varsity basketball coach Nicole Riscica, there’s a lot to like about the two Seminoles on her team.

Seventh graders Tatum Billie and Charleze Osceola made quite an impression in their first seasons on varsity.

“Charleze is a very smart player that plays down low. Tatum plays a guard and shoots lights out from 3-point,” Riscica said. “Both girls hustle, work hard and never give up. As a 25-year varsity coach, I am highly impressed with these two future stars. They will make their mark at NSU University School.”

Both girls are from the Hollywood Reservation. They’ve known each other since they were very young and have attended University School for many years.

They admitted that playing against bigger and older opponents on the varsity level – some players they faced were 17 or 18 years old – was overwhelming at times, but they said it will help them become better players.

“You’ve got to stick with the motivation that you have to win,” Billie said.

“You have to have a strong, positive mindset,” Osceola added.

University School had five seniors this season, which meant Billie and Osceola not only played against older players in games, but also in practices.

“I think I had some difficulty playing with a varsity team for the first time, but then I got the hang of it,” Billie said. “It was really good to play with the seniors and to get along with them.”

Riscica said both players bring different skills to the court with Billie being a smooth-shooting guard and Osceola being effective in the post position as a forward.

Billie, who started several games, scored in double digits a few times, including 15 points in one game.

Both girls said their parents have helped them with their basketball development. Billie’s parents are Isiah Billie and Meredith Bullard; Osceola’s parents are Brande Clay and Chief Osceola.

The girls said they want to play college basketball when their days at University are over, but they don’t follow college hoops. Instead, they like to watch the NBA. Billie’s favorite player is superstar LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers; Osceola’s favorite is Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat. When she attends Heat games, Osceola is more than just a spectator; she’s taking mental notes.

“I watch the way they pass the ball and their communication and their overall teamwork,” she said.

“Char is very smart,” Riscica said. “She knows the game. What impressed me the most is how much of the game she knows, where to be on the court, why things happen, how to create.”

University finished runner-up in its district, but did not qualify for the regional playoffs. Riscica expects that to change in the near future as her young team, which includes another seventh grader and an eighth grader, continues to improve. In a couple years “I don’t think anybody will touch us as long as everyone stays and commits to offseason work,” she said.

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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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