For as long as she can remember, Suriya McGuire has been a hoopster. I first met her at her college signing day at Minneapolis Roosevelt, as a senior Teddies basketball player planning to attend the University of Miami.
She was a high school star, ranked in the top ten in the nation (No. 7 overall), and the fifth-best point guard in the nation. McGuire also made the Nike Nationals All-Tournament team as a member of the local North Tartan AAU team.
Her college numbers weren’t eye-popping, but they were consistent. The 5-11 Minneapolis native played in 127 games, started 68 of them (2011-15), and finished tied for tenth on the Hurricanes’ career games played list. She hoped the WNBA door would open for her, but instead, McGuire forged a successful pro career overseas, globetrotting to such countries as Romania, the Czech Republic, Finland, and Angola.
But according to her, McGuire decided to take a hiatus from basketball in 2018 and went into modeling. McGuire’s modeling includes runway work, fashion shows, and photo shoots for clothing lines.
“I wanted to flourish in my creative side,” explained McGuire, “because I’m a very creative person. I feel like basketball is something that I’ve done my whole life thus far. So, I wanted to take a break from it.”
She loved modeling and still does, but it was time to go back to playing basketball, something that she also loves—again.
Last year, the guard joined Athletes Unlimited (AU), a player-centric league, in its inaugural season. This year is her second.
“I love it because it reminds me of pick-up,” said McGuire of AU’s format. Four 11-player teams drafted each week by the four captains, with no limits on the number of players at a specific position. Points are individually awarded during the game for made baskets, rebounds, assists, blocked shots and fouls drawn, among other game stats.
Points accumulated by statistics, quarter and/or game wins, and MVP selections create an individual leaderboard, which determines captains for each week and the individual champion at the end of the season in March.
The AU’s five-week season started last week and will end on March 23, with all games played in Dallas on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
“It’s not all about scoring points,” noted McGuire. “It is definitely a great opportunity for the athletes in general. I’m just happy that we have another platform to be seen.”
She said she has no regrets over leaving hoops for a time. “I wanted more out of life,” said McGuire.
On modeling, “I would say it was challenging for me to do the commercial stuff. It was just out of my comfort zone. Of course, I’ve been in media [as a college player]. I’ve done all types of camera work, photo shoots.
“It’s not something that I’ve never done before. But it was just [that] I was doing it in a different way… It took knowing how to work with the camera.”
McGuire will be on her second team of the season this week—she played on Team (Natasha) Cloud with current WNBAers Cloud, Essence Carson and Jordin Canada.
“I feel like I could play for the rest of my life because that’s just how I feel [until] God puts me down. In my mind, I can keep going [forever],” she said.
Weekly AU updates can be found on the MSR website.