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Aaliyah Guyton continued down a preordained path when she signed with Iowa back in November. The dynamic Class of 2024 guard was born into basketball. Perhaps it was her first word. 

Her mom and dad would be OK with that. They're hoopers.

Adriana Moises Pinto Mafra is a four-time Olympian, who helped Brazil win a bronze medal in the '00 Sydney summer games. She played in the WNBA and professionally in Italy, Russia and Croatia.

A.J. Guyton was inducted into the Indiana University Hall of Fame in '14. The Peoria (IL) native was named the Big Ten's Co-MVP and a first-team All-American in '00. He played for Chicago and Golden State in the NBA before enjoying a long overseas career. 

What was Aaliyah going to do, play hockey? She's loved drawing since she can remember, so maybe an art career was possible. In sports, it was basketball, always.

"I don't know which one is better, but I definitely get very good traits from both of them as players," she said of her parents. "It's hard to compare them, but they were both really good. They both had their unique ways of playing and styles of playing." 

Aaliyah's style is one Hawkeye fans will enjoy. The talented two-way guard from Peoria High and Mac Irvin Fire can score on all three levels and lock down on the perimeter

She's been working hard on rehabilitating from January ACL surgery in her right knee. Aaliyah said the process is going well, she believes it's ahead of schedule and is targeting a return for this coming season. The damage mostly was confined to the anterior cruciate ligament with minimal impact to the medial collateral. 

In addition to adding upper body workouts and more to her recent rehabbing regime, Aaliyah believes her mind is right. That's important in maximizing steps of the comeback.  

"When it comes to mental space, it was a little tough. I had a day or two where I had thoughts that anybody with an injury would have. But I was able to pick myself back up and have been solid since. I'm staying really motivated, positive, optimistic and focusing on the next goal," she said. 

Aaliyah also plays for the Brazilian national team. Her knee injury will not keep her from this summer's Paris games as Brazil did not qualify for them with her sidelined. 

The ESPN four-star recruit (No. 58 overall player nationally in '24) is honed in on helping the Hawkeyes next winter. They lose All-American Caitlin Clark along with fellow starters Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall and Molly Davis from this year's backcourt. 

"My doctor said I'll be cleared to practice around August, and I'll probably be cleared to play sometime around the middle of November," Guyton said. 

With the aforementioned roster subtractions coming for Iowa in '24-25, Guyton and the three other members of its incoming class have opportunities. The group includes post Ava Heiden (No. 40 in ESPNW Top 100), and guards Teagan Mallegni (No. 64) and Taylor Stremlow (No. 91). 

The foursome understands its role in adding to the returning talent. It wants to maintain a high level of play for a Hawkeye program that's a No. 1 seed in this week's NCAA Tournament. 

"I've definitely been looking at it as a challenge," Guyton said. "I know we'll all be working hard, and I know coach (Lisa) Bluder will put us in a good position. We'll probably play a little different without Caitlin, but we'll all just fit together and be a winning team." 

Guyton chose Iowa out of an impressive list of scholarship offers that included a Top 5 of the Hawkeyes, Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska and Pittsburgh. Her father's alma mater, the NCAAs' fourth-seeded Hoosiers, did not recruit her.  

"Their style of play is completely different from mine. So, I don't feel like I would fit in as a player anyway, but they were never involved. They never contacted," she said. 

Aaliyah will travel her own road in Iowa City, where her mom and dad will be watching closely. As they have for awhile, they'll see their playing styles in that of their daughter. They can think back to a time when they enjoyed family bragging rights. 

"I beat my mom. My dad, he's got those old knees, so he don't want to risk that. But my mom is the one that definitely did not want to give it up. She still will play anybody not matter what," Aaliyah said.