Jamila Johnson, who led St. Joseph’s to its third consecutive state championship, has been selected South Carolina Coaches Association for Women’s Sports Class A Volleyball Player of the Year.
Johnson, a junior, helped the Knights to a 37-8 record and had a team-high 14 kills in their state-final victory against Branchville.
“I’m truly grateful, and I couldn’t have done it without all my coaches and the players who have helped me throughout the years,” Johnson said. “We all worked together to get it. At least that’s how I feel.”
“I’ve never had a player who is as strong as she is in her hitting capability, especially with her explosiveness,” St. Joseph’s coach Jan Carino said. “And the speed of her arm when she swings is faster than anyone I’ve ever seen. That’s why she is so strong with her hitting.
“The other thing about Jamila is she’s a very smart player. She knows when she should take that full swing. She knows when she should just throw a tip-in. She sees the open court. She’s just a very strong all-around player.”
Johnson is especially impressive at the net considering she’s 5-foot-7.
“I’ve been playing for a lot of years, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not going to grow too much more,” she said. “So I’ve been working on finding new ways to get shots and finding open spots that can make it harder on other teams, because sometimes there are a lot of big blocks up there and you have to move it around.”
Johnson, the third Knights player in a row to earn the award following two-time winner Alexa Legaly, also was a co-captain.
“Because she’s so good, she could very well get frustrated with others on the team who aren’t as strong as she is who maybe are making more mistakes, but that never happened,” Carino said. “She was always positive.”
“I don’t want to be just a leader on the court but off the court as well,” Johnson said. “I love my team so much that it’s pretty easy to be a leader with this team, because we all get along so well.”