Monday, April 29, 2013

Newest Lady Monarch was a cheerleader first

Once upon a time she was planning to be a cheerleader like her mom. Instead Keyana Brown is a basketball player like her dad, and she'll be taking her game to the next level at Old Dominion. The 5-11 forward from Williamsburg Christian Academy, who Boo Williams lauds as  "a true shooter," is part of the Lady Monarchs' 2014 signing class.

Brown has started every game since eighth grade at Williamsburg Christian. For the last four years, the Eagles have advanced to every state title game (winning in 2012), and although Brown is just finishing up her junior year, she's already surpassed 2,000 points (she's notched 2,001). Brown has also received first-team all-state honors each of the last four years and was the Virginia Independent Schools State Player of the Year in 2012. Check out some of her moves on this YouTube video.

As a ninth-grader, Brown even played in the state title game after breaking her right hand against Amelia Academy in the state semifinals. Unable to shoot or dribble that morning, she took some advice from a classmate on the boys team who played with a bad shoulder.

"He told me once your adrenalin starts going, you'll be all right," she says. "I finished with 12 points."

Brown considered Richmond, James Madison, Delaware, St. Bonaventure and Villanova, visiting a few of those schools, but picked ODU because it was the exact fit she was seeking.

"It's not very far from home; I love coach (Karen) Barefoot and the energy she gives off," said Brown, who plans to major in communication. "What really put them over the top was that family vibe that I got. I know that my dad felt that trust in the coaching staff, too. I got to meet the AD and other people who made me feel this is where I need to be. The campus is beautiful, and with the system and the coaches, I think that is the perfect place for me to be successful."

As for the cheerleader in her, Brown laughs recalling the memory.

"My mom was a cheerleader in high school, and every little girl looks up to their mom," she said.

At age 7, she was set for a cheerleading camp in her former home, Atlanta, when she told her dad never mind that camp, she wanted to join a basketball camp after watching one featuring the Georgia Tech players.

"We had already paid for the cheerleading camp. ..." he said.

Chris Brown coaches (today he is an assistant at Williamsburg Christian) and played at Norfolk State from 1984-88, and Keyana Brown credits him for much of her development.

"His teaching me means we have a relationship inside of another relationship that we share," she says.

As for those 1-on-1 games, that they play all the time?

"It's hard," Keyana says. "He knows my faults, and I'm still trying to figure out his."

Notes Chris, "She hasn't figured out that I don't have any."

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