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Sarasota Athlete of the Week: Jakai Peterson

The Booker High girls basketball guard is ready for a big senior season.

Booker High girls basketball senior guard Jakai Peterson.
Booker High girls basketball senior guard Jakai Peterson.
Photo by Ryan Kohn
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Jakai Peterson is a senior guard on the Booker High girls basketball team. Peterson led the Tornadoes with 11 points per game in 2022-2023, helping the Tornadoes reach the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship game. The Tornadoes will begin their 2023-2024 season with the Wiregrass Ranch Thanksgiving Tournament, held Nov. 24-25 at Wiregrass Ranch High, before coming home Dec. 5 to play Bayshore High at 7 p.m. 

When did you start playing basketball?

I started when I was 9 or 10 years old, but I didn't take it seriously until I was in sixth grade and my coaches told me I could actually be good at it. 

What is the appeal to you?

I like going fast, and basketball lets you play fast. It makes it fun. Also, just being with the team. It makes it way better to play with a good team. 

What is your best skill on the court?

My speed and my jumping ability. I can get up and down the court and my coaches call me "rabbit" because of how I can jump. 

What have you been working to improve?

Mainly my jump shot. I want to get more confident in it. Also, using my left hand more, because I always want to go to my right. 

What is your favorite memory?

Last year's state title game. Not even the game though. Just bonding with the team in the hotel. That was a great time. 

Do you feel more pressure to perform for your senior season?

Not really. We lost some players from last year's team (to graduation), but there are others who are going to step up. I just have to do what I did last year, but more of it. I just have to go up in play. 

What is your favorite food?

It's probably salmon. 

What is your favorite TV show?

Either "Law and Order" or "Grey's Anatomy." I like both of those. 

What is your favorite subject?

Math. Once you get it, it's actually fun. You just have to understand what you're doing. 

Which superpower would you pick?

Invisibility. I'd just sneak around to different places. 

What is the best advice you have received?

You're a dog, so be a dog. Play confident. 

Finish this sentence: "Jakai Peterson …"

Quiet. I don't talk a lot, I just play. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.