Zakiyah Johnson starring as an 8th-grader at Shelby County High School

Has dreams of playing in the WNBA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Zakiyah Johnson's goals are pretty lofty.

"I want to go to the WNBA," she said. 

And if you think that might be unrealistic for a 14-year-old, listen to her coach. 

"You're looking at a future WNBA player," Shelby County High School coach Daniel Price said. "That's how good she can be." 

This is Price's first year as head coach at Shelby County. He played in college and professionally, mostly overseas. He has coached at both the high school and collegiate level and had a pretty good idea of what he had in Johnson from a meeting a few years before. 

"I worked her out when she was going into the sixth grade," Price said. "I worked her out for an evaluation. At that time, I told her parents 'she's special.' She has the opportunity to be one of the best players I've ever seen, and it's panning out."  

The 5-foot-11-inch eighth-grader is averaging 22 points and 15 rebounds per game and is leading Shelby County (5-6 so far this year) in virtually every statistical category, confirming Price's preseason thoughts.

"When I was adding the rosters to the KHSAA, and it was asking for positions, I just clicked on all of them, because she can play every position," Price said with a laugh. 

Johnson comes from a basketball family. Her mom — who was her coach for many years — her dad and her step-dad all played in college. She has already gotten college offers from Louisville, Kentucky and Northern Kentucky, with many more to come. She's been touted as one of the top eighth-graders in the country and one of the top players in Kentucky, regardless of grade level. 

How has it been getting all that attention?

"At first, it was a lot of pressure," Johnson said. "It wasn't really as stressful as I thought it would be. It got easier. It's actually kind of fun."

Johnson said she is motivated by her younger fans, kids that look up to her and her two younger brothers. She and her family have yet to determine whether or not she will continue at Shelby County throughout her high school years. Wherever she plays, she will get plenty of attention from her opponents. 

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