ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Lashann Higgs is among the best high school basketball players in the country.
The guard from Cedar Ridge routinely scores over 40 points a game. She can leap and grab the rim, even though she stands just 5-foot-9. Her high school coach, Angela Beck – the former coach of the University Nebraska – calls her the best guard she’s ever coached.
But for all she can do on the court, her story off of it is equally impressive.
Higgs left most of her family and moved from the Bahamas to Texas while in middle school. Higgs’ family hoped relocating her to America would improve her life.
“My parents sent me over here, mainly my mom. It’s just hard over there,” Higgs said.
In Houston she caught the eye of high school coach George Washington. Although her athletic ability stuck out first, Washington also noticed Higgs was in need of extra assistance getting to and from practice. Car rides led to weekends spent around the house with Washington and his wife and their three boys. The family and Higgs soon grew close.
The Washingtons noticed when Higgs stayed over for dinner she typically ate very little. One afternoon her school called Washington.
“They said you need to come pick this young lady up, or we’re going to call child protective services,” Washington said. “They said her face is really swollen and someone needs to get her to a hospital.”
Higgs needed emergency dental work. Washington would learn later that had he not helped her get to a dentist, the problem would have been life threatening.
“After that it’s amazing how her appetite changed and that’s how she came to live with us,” Washington said.
The Washington’s were with Higgs when her mother in the Bahamas died of cancer. Both families agreed at the time that Higgs would join the Washingtons as their adopted daughter.
“There’s no preparation for a teenager daughter I tell everyone that, but we are really, really close. That’s my little girl,” Washington said.
Washington was hired as an assistant coach by the University of Texas in 2012. The family relocated to Austin and Higgs enrolled at Cedar Ridge. The major college basketball programs came calling but Higgs’ mind was made up. Even with Washington vowing to stay out of her recruitment, she chose to play at the University of Texas. She has signed and will join the team next season.
“Hopefully through all of this, I’ll be an inspiration to other kids. No matter what the circumstances are, no matter what, you can be somebody.” Higgs said. “You just follow through with your dreams. Don’t give up. Don’t listen, no matter what anyone tells you. They can’t tell you that you can’t, because you’re your own person.