Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is basketball standout Jzaniya Harriel from Antelope High School in California.
Ranked 14th overall at her position, Jzaniya is a talented point guard with big goals for her future and the work ethic to achieve them. The Stanford commit has a list of accolades that prove just how much hard work can pay off: Sacramento Area (Sac Bee Newspaper) Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019, three-year varsity starter, League MVP in 2018, 2019, and 2020, over 2,000 career points as a junior, and a full-ride scholarship to the college of her dreams – just to name a few.
“It’s very clear that Jzaniya is someone that is passionate about the sport of basketball. Every time I call her, she’s in the gym. We love her speed and athletic scoring ability and also believe she has what it takes to be a top defender.” – Tara VanDerveer, The Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Stanford University (source: Stanford Athletics)
Jzaniya doesn’t just push herself on the court. In the classroom she’s earned a 4.4 GPA while balancing 11 Advanced Placement and Honors courses. She’s set to graduate 9th in her class and has dreams of one day attending law school and becoming a judge.
“Jzaniya is constantly under extreme pressure and she always presents herself with calm and puts her team first. She only knows competition and hard work, growing up with seven competitive siblings, and this has been the foundation to her 4.4 gpa and numerous basketball accolades.” – Sean Chambers, Antelope High School girls’ varsity basketball coach
Jzaniya was nominated by her former principal and current Executive Director of Student Engagement John Becker. He’s seen Jzaniya’s competitiveness and dedication first hand, including her commitment to her teammates and the younger student-athletes around her.
Here’s what Jzaniya had to say about being a student-athlete, her role models and support system, and her future goals:
What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?
My definition of a successful student athlete is someone who takes their studies just as serious as the sport they play. Someone who wants to excel in the classroom just as much as they want to on the court or field.
What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?
There are many memorable moments from my athletic career, but the highlight of my athletic career so far has to definitely be signing my NLI to attend my dream school, Stanford University. It felt good to turn my dreams into a reality and it showed me that hard work does pay off.
Who is your role model in athletics?
My role model in athletics is my father. He used to play and is the reason why I got into basketball. As he taught me everything he knew, we bonded and that made me love the game even more. Many people ask me who I model my game after and the answer to that is my dad. I play just like him.
What do you love most about competing?
What I enjoy most about competing is winning. I love to win, but I hate losing more and that fuels my competitive nature. I will do whatever my team needs me to do in order to win and that allows me to perform at my absolute highest level.
What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school?
After high school I hope to win multiple championships with my teammates at Stanford and hopefully play professionally. I also plan on going to law school in hopes of eventually becoming a judge.
To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.