After years of training, workouts, AAU tournaments, showcases and varsity seasons, one of the best basketball players in Floral Park Memorial High School history has made her big decision. Kaela Hilaire is headed to SUNY Albany.
The senior point guard officially signed her National Letter of Intent on Nov. 11, selecting the Great Danes over Indiana University, Florida Atlantic and Towson.
“It’s a relief and a big weight off of my shoulders,” said Hilaire, who will be completing her sixth year as a varsity basketball player this year.
Hilaire has amassed quite an athletic resume. She was named to the All-Conference team in seventh grade and earned All-County honors in eighth grade. After spending her freshman year at Long Island Lutheran, Hilaire returned to Floral Park and received the small schools’ Player of the Year award for Nassau County as a sophomore. She was also named second-team All Long Island by Newsday. Last year, Hilaire repeated as Player of the Year for Nassau County small schools, second-team All Long Island, and added second-team Class A New York State to her accomplishments.
“Kaela is incredibly talented,” said coach Mike Spina, who attended the signing day ceremony at Floral Park Memorial. “She is so unselfish on the court and a great person off the court. I am so proud of all of her achievements. I just hope to enjoy every minute of this final season. Albany is getting a very special player.”
After two appearances in the Nassau County Class A semifinals, both Hilaire and Spina have high expectations for the upcoming season.
“I’m just excited that my decision is over and I can focus on the season,” said Hilaire.
Several factors contributed to Hilaire’s decision to attend Albany. She liked the program’s recent winning seasons and proximity to home.
“Kaela is an amazing individual who is not just an extraordinary athlete, but an extraordinary individual,” said Floral Park Memorial High School Principal Dr. Kathleen Sottile. “She has a sound moral compass and is the epitome of the Floral Park student-athlete.”
—Courtesy of Sewanhaka Central High School District