The Braden River senior talks physical defense and her love of shrimp.
Julia Rodriguez is a senior guard on the Braden River High girls basketball team. Rodriguez, who has signed with Kennesaw State (Ga.), scored a career-high 35 points in the team's 73-53 home win against IMG Academy on Jan. 25.
When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing seven years ago. My brother (Johnny Rodriguez) played basketball and when I saw him play, I wanted to play as well.
What is the appeal to you?
I like competition. If I see someone better than me on the court, it's my mission to get better than them. I like to work hard. It's fun for me.
What is your best skill?
On defense, I am touchy. I am physical. I am trying to get my hands on the ball, and if someone falls asleep on the court, I am going to take the ball from them.
What is your favorite memory?
I hit the game-winning shot against North Port when we played them two years ago. It was the first time I had hit that type of shot for this team, and it was a big game. We had gone back and forth with them that season, with us winning and then North Port winning. It was nice to beat them again.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I have been trying to stay consistent. I have been getting better at that. It comes down to practice, making sure my shot is good and making sure I'm always active on defense.
Why sign with Kennesaw State?
I took a visit to Kennesaw in October. I saw that they treat their players like family there. I met everyone and they all seemed like great people, fun people. I knew then that it was the place I wanted to be.
What is your favorite food?
I love seafood. My favorite is probably Cajun-style shrimp.
Which two people from history would you pick to have dinner with?
I would want to sit down with Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. They put their lives on the line. There were people back then who had similar ideas but were too scared to say or do anything, but those two took action. They are great leaders and helped so many people.
What is your favorite subject?
I like math a lot, but in college I think I am going to major in marketing and communications. It makes more sense from a business standpoint.
What is the best advice you have received?
Never give up. Always keep up the same mentality. Even when things go wrong, you have to believe in yourself.
Finish this sentence: "Julia Rodriguez is …"
… Dedicated. If I like something, I am going to commit to it.