Killeen students gathered in the gym Tuesday afternoon to watch senior Manesha Knox sign her letter of intent to play basketball for Texas Woman’s University.

Before the cake was cut and the celebration started, girls’ head basketball coach Jennifer Graham spoke to Knox’s friends and family in the gymnasium about her accommplishments on and off the court.

Knox has been an all-academic UIL member throughout her high school career and has been averaging 11.1 points per game in the first six games this season.

“We focus a lot on academics and then athletics,” Graham said. “Manesha has always bought into that.”

Knox has also been a leader on her team, the kind who leads by example.

Her fellow teammates have watched as she leads on the court and is still able to get the grades that she gets, but Knox is always willing to teach them how they can do the same, Graham said.

“I’m glad that her players and friends showed up today to let her know that her hard work wasn’t in vain,” Markitia Knox, Manesha’s mother, said.

Considering Manesha ran track “all her life” and was new to basketball when she started in eighth grade, the thought of her playing at the college level wasn’t always there, Markitia said.

“I’m very proud of Manesha,” Markitia said. “I’m excited to see that her hard work has paid off.”

“It feels great knowing I can go to college for free and do what I love,” Manesha said.

Manesha chose to play for the Pioneers when she toured the campus and met the team but, “I just like the home feeling of still wearing maroon.”

Although it’s still early in the season, Graham had a few words of wisdom for Manesha as she prepares for her collegiate career.

“Continue to do what you do,” she said. “I know you’ll be great in the classroom.

“I’m super proud of you. I know you’ll be a phenomenal athlete on the court.”

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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