She woke up every morning in tears. Maranne Johnson
, known to her friends and those around the hardwood as 'MJ,' thought her basketball days were gone.
But the former Sacramento State standout landed in Cyprus, an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, and now she's playing professionally. She hopes this is the first stepping stone to her dream to play in the WNBA.
"I was terrified before I came here," the Antioch native and Deer Valley (Antioch, Calif.)
graduate told Nikki B in the 21st "Play Like a Girl" Podcast for MaxPreps. "I didn't know anything about this place and I was coming here on my own. Now I'm beyond grateful. My team and coaches are amazing and this place is beautiful."
With three older brothers and a father who played college basketball, Johnson was born to play the game. She started playing the game at the age of 5 or 6. Michael Jordan was her idol.
The 5-foot-7 guard had a nice career at Deer Valley, where she was a three-year starter and Bay Valley Athletic League MVP her senior season, when she averaged 14.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.7 steals per game. She had to walk on to Sacramento State, but quickly emerged as one of its top players and earned a scholarship.
Johnson broke school career records in three-pointers (299) and steals (325) and finished third in program history with 1,627 points. She said her determination keyed her college and now professional career.
"It's about knowing what you want and staying after it," she told Niikki B. "It takes a lot of work. But if you do that, good things come."
Nikki Bondura — aka Nikki B — soaked up all of Johnson's responses.
The upbeat former collegiate athlete from Northern California wants
to build confidence of females who play sports by offering vital life
skills and advice in order to enhance their athletic careers, and
In her weekly podcasts, Nikki B brings in
expert guests to discuss a plethora of topics, ranging from and dealing
with teammate drama to peer pressure to social media to relationships
to inappropriate coaches.
winner on the Golf Channel's "Shotmakers," Nikki B is a former captain of the
Sacramento State golf team. She is a leader in the fields of blogging, social media, marketing, networking and branding.
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