Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Pershing High’s Caprice Dennis, a returning starter from last year’s Class A state semifinalist girls’ basketball team, is the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learner of the Week after scoring 13 points, all in the second half, last Wednesday to spark a 59-45 nonleague victory against top-ranked Renaissance.
“I appreciate the honor,” Dennis said. “We’ve been working hard, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re looking at the bigger picture. We’re trying to win a (state) championship.”
Dennis, a 5-9 junior point guard, doesn’t put much stock in the Doughgirls’ lofty No. 6 preseason ranking by the Detroit News. That same poll ranked Renaissance the state’s No. 1 team.
“We don’t care about rankings, and we don’t focus on what the other teams do,” Dennis said. “We’re more concerned about what we do. As long as we play our game, we should do well. We’re not as good as we’re going to be. But it’s a long season and we’ve got time.”
If nothing else, Pershing’s early-season test against Renaissance sounded the alarm to the rest of the state that girls’ basketball is strong as ever in the PSL.
“This is a very competitive league,” Dennis agreed. “It’s a lot more physical than other leagues. We play harder.”
Dennis’ sister, sophomore Nizjah Hill, is also a returning Pershing starter. And it’s to their benefit, Dennis said, that Pershing head coach Shawn Hill is also their dad.
“It’s a big help having my Dad as coach,” she said. “When we’re at home, we can talk about things and he’ll tell me what I need to work on.”
“I try to keep everything humble,” Coach Hill said. “She has nine siblings, so it’s kind of hard on both ends. Sometimes, she has tough days and I have to be Dad. And then there are days when I’ve got to be coach. It’s interesting, but that’s what we’re here for. It’s about disciplining her and getting her ready.”
As a third-year starter, Dennis is getting ready for a bigger role this season.
“Now that I’m at the point guard position, it’s important that I see the floor better,” she said. “I’m just trying to perfect the stuff that I do best, like working on my defense and hitting my shot. Scoring isn’t really a big factor for me. I’m always looking to get easy buckets, whether my teammates get them or I get them.”