Thomas Dale High School senior Ka’lia Johnson was 2 years old when she first began bouncing a basketball. Recently, her love and passion for the game, along with her focus on academics, gave her reason to celebrate, as, surrounded by family, friends and mentors, she signed a letter of intent to play Division-I basketball for Duke University next winter.
Johnson, a varsity player, is ranked nationally as one of the 10 best players in the Class of 2011. She credits her mom and dad, Keshia and Kenneth Johnson, and her brother, Jay, with teaching her everything she knows about basketball and life.
In making her final decision, Johnson made a list of negatives and positives for each school she visited. After visiting Duke, she said, she only found positives.
“The coaching staff and players were really helpful,” she said. “I made a list of positive and negatives and after I visited Duke I saw that I had about 20 positive things and no negatives, that’s when I knew.” Johnson added that she had other schools she liked, but she wanted to go some place that was close to her family and a place where her family could come to see her play.
Johnson, ranked as one of the top scorers in the Central Region and the state with an average of 24 points per game, has been the foundation of the team, girls’ basketball head coach Kevin Coffey said.
“Ka’lia has pretty much been the foundation of the team,” he said. “She has done a good job putting in the work, a good job making adjustments coming out of middle school to high school and her hard work is paying off. It is a great achievement.”