IMPERIAL — It is uncommon for a high school freshman to play varsity in almost any sport, including basketball, but it is no shocker to Imperial High School junior, Sierra Morris, and her parents, as she worked many years to make varsity her freshman year and remain through junior year.
Morris wasn't a fan of basketball at first but that all changed once she hit fifth grade. Imperial native, Morris is currently on her third year as a varsity starter player.
When she’s on the court, Morris dials in on the game, her team, and the opponents, blocking out the noise of the crowd to do her job as a post player.
As a young girl Morris watched her idol — Kobe Bryant — to see how he played. She said he is one of the greats of basketball and her mindset is similar to his, referencing the Mamba Mentality. Anything that Morris can do to improve as a player, she does.
She wakes up, hits the books, then is off to practice to conquer the courts. She said it can be difficult to juggle school and basketball, but her teachers are very helpful. Morris’ school schedule is fully packed, and with basketball season finally arriving, it won’t be letting up any time soon.
Morris has also been tackling National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) courses since her freshman year. Taking these courses gives her a better shot at being accepted into college for sports, especially since she is striving for Division I schools. Morris said when coaches look at her and her grades, they will see the standards she has met and be more likely to accept her.
But after school lets out and Morris is in the gym, everything else falls away and she hones in on her basketball skills. She focuses on ball handles and individual shooting.
Morris has only two goals on her mind for this season — winning CIF with her team and receiving college offers.
Despite her jam-packed schedule to be a great student and player, she still prioritizes time with her supportive family.
Morris comes from a small family full of big support, with her dad being her biggest fan. "He is there for me no matter what,” she said.
It is important to Morris that her dad is with her through every step. He has been helping her become a better player through love and support. During the summers, Morris’ dad searched for opportunities outside of the Valley for her to continue playing basketball, he sent her to basketball camp, he accompanies Morris to her early-morning practices, attends almost every game, and always calls before her games if he cannot attend to wish her well.
Morris hopes to make it to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) one day and knows it takes a lot of discipline, self-motivation, and hard work. She said family is her biggest motivation. Having a strong support system keeps her focused and encourages her to keep pushing forward.
She also said it is encouraging to see the positive impact she leaves for other girls. Morris said young girls have gone to her and said she is a great basketball player and that they want to be like her.
She said moments like those are when she says to herself, ‘okay, I have to keep going.’
Making it into the WNBA is her biggest goal and she hopes to one day play for the Los Angeles Sparks.
“If I make it out of here, anything is possible,” she said.
Morris said she loves that she is from the Imperial Valley, and she loves playing for her hometown. She wants to represent her community well when she goes off to play college ball.
Morris left a piece of advice to fellow athletes, "work hard, play hard."