Pachiyaanna Roberts had the talent to do just that at McEachern.
By the time Roberts reached her senior season, she was capable of playing all five positions on the court. Her versatility proved pivotal in helping McEachern to a perfect 33-0 record and its first Class AAAAA state championship.
A scorer, 3-point threat, rebounder, defender and distributor, Roberts could do it all, and the numbers pointed that out. She averaged 17.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 steals and 1.7 blocks per game for the Lady Indians.
While basketball was where Roberts focused her talents the most, she showed her resourcefulness in other venues, too.
Standing 5 feet, 11 inches, she suited up as a middle hitter and middle blocker for the McEachern volleyball team, and she also used her speed and strength to play defender for the soccer team.
Talent is what made Roberts — a four-year starter in all three sports — such a success, and it’s what made her the 2011-12 Marietta Daily Journal Female Athlete of the Year.
A Parade All-American, the Georgia Sports Writers Association Miss Basketball and a first-team all-state selection in basketball, Roberts’ list of honors and awards continues to grow.
“I’m really honored by this, and honored for all of the awards that I’ve received,” Roberts said. “but I don’t play for the awards. I play because it’s fun.”
Roberts grew up playing soccer because it was the sport her Jamaican family enjoyed the most. But, by the time she reached middle school, she made the decision to stick with basketball.
“Soccer was always part of my family growing up,” Roberts said. “By the time I reached the eighth grade, I had to decide to play summer club soccer or play basketball. I didn’t really want to be outside, so that’s when I decided to stick with basketball.”
Roberts’ interest in volleyball at McEachern stemmed from it giving her something to do in the offseason.
“She was a starter and our best player,” McEachern volleyball coach Mike Lockridge said. “She’s a superior athlete and was a four-year starter for us. She was a leader during practices and matches, and was a good blocker and hitter. She was a good, steady volleyball player.”
During her junior year, Roberts, at the same time she was already playing soccer, also joined the McEachern track and field team as a member of its second 400-meter relay squad.
Had Roberts dedicated her time and efforts to being the best player she could be in her other sports, she believes she could have been rewarded.
“I could have probably gotten a scholarship in soccer if I had stuck with it,” she said. “If I had really put my mind to it, I think I could have been a Division I player in all three sports.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by her basketball coach, Phyllis Arthur.
“She is very deserving of every award she gets,” Arthur said. “She was a three- or four-sport athlete who could do it all. She’s a great athlete and a great person.”
Roberts asserted that she got her drive to succeed because she didn’t want her mother concerned about her future.
“I didn’t want her worrying about me after high school,” Roberts said. “I figured the best way to help her and help me at the same time was to earn a scholarship to college.”
That’s what Roberts did, signing to play basketball at Syracuse University.
Arthur, on the other hand, had her own reason as to why Roberts excelled as an athlete.
“I think she has a fear of failure,” Arthur said. “She doesn’t want to fail and wants to be No. 1 at everything she does. It’s just instilled in her to do well, and when you tell her what’s expected of her, she wants to do it to make you proud of her.”