Jadea Johnson, a senior guard on the Romeoville girls basketball team, has been voted the Herald-News Athlete of the Week.
Johnson received 150 votes to earn the honor ahead of the runner-up, Joliet Catholic basketball standout James Pilapil. Joliet Central wrestler Charles Walker and Lockport wrestler Morgan Turner also were on the ballot.
Johnson had 23 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals in a win over Plainfield South.
Here is Herald-News sports reporter Steve Millar’s conversation with this week’s winner.
Going back to that game against Plainfield South, how were you able to play so well?
I just had to mentally lock in. Last year, they beat us the first time we played them, and it was like an upset. We didn’t want that to happen again. They were talking, and that fueled me. Rebounding is how I get a lot of my points. I just focused on rebounding, and I was able to score.
As a senior this year, how do you want to be a leader?
Johnson: I just have to play my role and do what I have to do in order to contribute to any win possible. I don’t care if we win by one point, as long as we win. Whether it’s offensive or defensive, I’ll do whatever the team needs me to. I need to score, I need to get rebounds, get steals, pass the ball.
How do you feel like you’re a better player now than you were last year?
Johnson: I feel like I understand the game way better. I watch so much film, and I’ve been able to reflect off last year and not make the same mistakes I did last year. I don’t want people to think I can’t go left. I worked on that to get better at that. I knew the things that I needed to work on, and I want this to be my go-off year.
What do you like about your team this season?
Johnson: I love our athleticism and the way we get after it. We’re a team that actually likes to play defense, and that’s something that’s really exciting. We know our defense will determine our offense. We like to get on a run.
Do you play any other sports besides basketball?
Johnson: I run track, and I dance. Track helps a lot, because it keeps me in shape. Dance, it’s all about the footwork. Me growing up dancing, it makes footwork so easy for me in basketball, where I can do the moves and be shifty and things like that.
If you could see anyone in concert, who would you want to see?
Johnson: I just saw Beyonce, so probably Drake. The Beyonce show was beautiful. It was great. I’m mentally still there. And I just saw her movie two days ago.
What is your favorite TV show?
Johnson: Probably “Swagger.” It’s a basketball show, and it relates to me because it starts in 2020 with a young black kid dealing with COVID and not getting a full freshman year to play basketball.