Many people wondered why a girl was playing on the boys basketball team at Robert Black middle school in Chicago.
The team featured superstar Jabari Parker, yet the girl was just as important to the team’s success. Young point guard Linnae Harper proved she could play with the boys in eighth grade.
Competing against them made her tougher and led to a star-studded high school career that was highlighted last month when she was has named a McDonald’s All-American and a earned a top five national ranking. The senior is looking to lead the Dolphins to a second consecutive state title.
Harper has extraordinary talent and can do it all on the court. In a supersectional win Monday, she helped her team advance downstate, beating Bolingbrook in an overtime thriller.
She recorded 26 points, 12 rebounds and five assists against the Raiders, but the biggest play of the game was her steal at halfcourt that helped seal the win. The thrill of victory was exciting and intense, but Harper always wants more.
“I wasn’t ready to leave or have my season end that day,’’ Harper said. ‘‘My teammates and I gave it our all till the buzzer sounded.”
Even though Harper is one of the top girls basketball players in the country, she doesn’t get the same recognition the boys do. It can be frustrating, but she uses it to her advantage.
“It’s a disappointment to know as a female that we work so hard, sometimes even harder than guys, and they get more than us,’’ Harper said. ‘‘But it’s motivation to keep pushing for our goals.’’
Her talent is more than appreciated, especially by the Kentucky coaching staff. Harper is one of the most highly anticipated recruits to commit to the Wildcats program.
She’s extremely excited to join a college team that has some of the loudest fans in the country and play with former Dolphins teammate Janee Thompson.
“Everything is going to be great, I’m just looking forward to get down there,” Harper said.