Johnston’s Taryn Knuth is used to blocking shots in basketball and swatting attacks on the volleyball court, too.
She’s become skilled at fending off questions, as well.
Knuth committed to play volleyball at Florida State, a sport in which she’s earned All-American honors and played for the U.S. Junior National Team.
While her future is in that sport, basketball fans have wondered what could have been.
She hears the question when the 6-foot-4 senior — whose team opens state tournament play at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday against No. 1-ranked Indianola — took the court in basketball camps.
“They’d say, ‘Oh, you sure you want to play volleyball?’ ” Knuth said with a grin.
Knuth led all of Class 5A in scoring with a 22.8-point average this season. She topped the state in 13.7 rebounds per game and was No. 1 in blocked shots in 5A with 83.
Sorry, college basketball coaches. She made her decision in November 2015 and hasn’t wavered.
“I’m hoping to grow and reach my full potential,” Knuth said.
Knuth received interest in basketball programs like Iowa State, Drake, Wisconsin and Kansas State.
She also was contacted by more than 50 college volleyball teams.
Knuth had the pedigree for college athletics. Her dad, Jim, played football at Iowa State. Mom Dawn was a basketball standout who went to Drake.
All three of her older siblings earned college scholarships, too — sisters Tory and Taylor played volleyball at Iowa State and brother Jay is a basketball player for Minnesota State.
It appeared from an early age that Taryn was on the same course.
“I was always dragged along because I was the youngest,” Knuth said.
She also was a keeper in soccer and competed in track as well. She played pretty much every youth sport except for softball, like her sisters.
“They all played everything for a long time,” Dawn said.
The Knuths have had so much sports success that they’ve created a family “Wall of Fame” at their home.
Her dad was always at her basketball games to offer pointers.
“Even today, he gives me tips after every single game,” Knuth said.
She has always loved basketball. Knuth helped Johnston (19-4) take state runner-up honors a year ago. She was named captain of the All-Tournament team.
Knuth was an honorable mention Des Moines Register All-Iowa selection.
She grabbed Elite All-Iowa status in volleyball this fall.
Knuth helped Johnston beat Davenport North 89-82 in overtime in a regional final to reach the state tournament. She scored 38 points and had 13 rebounds in the win.
She said she hopes that she’s saved her best for last in high school basketball for the week’s upcoming tournament play.
Her college future awaits. But would she ever consider suiting up for Florida State’s basketball team, if ever asked to join?
“I wouldn’t say ‘no’ right away,” Knuth said.