Basketball legend Shane Heal says his daughter Shyla will bounce back from her brutal axing from WNBA team Chicago Sky and be tougher for the experience.
The Sky traded 2021 first-round pick Heal and draft assets to the Dallas Wings in exchange for Dana Evans.
Heal was then immediately released by the Wings after the trade.
The 19-year-old had played just four games for the Sky, averaging two points and 2.5 turnovers in 7.8 minutes per game.
Heal didn’t play in the Sky’s buzzer-beating loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night and was cut at the airport as the team prepared for a road trip.
Heal’s father Shane, who represented the Boomers in four Olympic Games, tweeted that it was a “tough break”.
“Tough break for Shyla. Was traded and waived today. 2 practice sessions & 20 odd mins. The team lost 5 straight home games so they cut 2 first round picks. Great experience that will make her even tougher. It’s a business there. Super proud & know she will kill it there,” Heal wrote.
Heal added that the manner of the axing was “character building”.
“I luv her resilience. Being 19 & sitting in an apartment alone in Chicago is tough too. She will be ok. Lots of people going thru more difficult things in life. We appreciate the support,” Heal senior said.
One of the youngest players in the WNBA draft, Heal was taken with the eighth overall pick.
Sky coach and general manager James Wade believed she could have an immediate impact given she had played in the WNBL since she was 14.
But Heal was unable to participate in the Sky’s training camp due to a delay with her visa application and only joined the team two weeks ago, which put her on the back foot heading into the season.
Another Australian great Chris Anstey, who played in the NBA, put the blame on squarely on Wade and the Sky, calling the WNBA club a “mess”.
“I’ll be a little more direct than others – the @chicagosky drafting and then cutting a 19yo for lack of experience is horses*** as a GM, as a coach, as an organisation and even more so, as human beings,” Anstey tweeted.
“Chicago’s general manager, is also its head coach – and the Sky also don’t have an assistant GM. Chicago are a mess, and it all falls on James Wade.”
Heal averaged 16.7 points and 3.4 assists per game for Townsville in the WNBL last season, and will suit up for Sydney Uni Flames for the coming domestic campaign in Australia.