For as long as Copperas Cove junior guard Madisen “MJ” Honea has been walking, she’s pretty much been dribbling a basketball, too.
“I started playing probably when I was 2 years old,” she said. “I’ve grown up around basketball since my mom has been a coach, and my brother and sister played.
“Our family is full of basketball.”
Honea started playing on an AAU travel team when she was in the fourth grade.
“I lived in a really small town before I came to Cove,” she recalled. “We just made our own little team and played in tournaments and just grew from there.”
When Honea reached junior high school, her mom, Tracy Honea, became her eighth-grade coach.
“It was good,” she said of the season her mom led the team. “We had our moments, of course, but she knew my potential and what I could do, so I could never slack. and that was a good thing.
“She always pushed me to be a better player.”
Her family continued to push her to grow as an athlete, as Honea admitted they’re all very competitive.
“It’s crazy how competitive we are,” she said.
Honea’s brother, Justus, played for Copperas Cove and graduated last year. He currently plays for Southwestern University.
He’s also one of the people she gets the most competitive with.
“We’d go to the gym every single day and we’d play this game,” she explained of the 3-point shot competition the two would have. “It’s crazy how competitive we can get over a dumb 3-point game, but it’s there.”
Growing up, Tracy wouldn’t let Justus block Madisen’s shots, but now that they’re older, he knows blocking her will only help improve her game.
“Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be who I was today without my brother helping me get better,” Madisen said.
She also believes her family moving to Copperas Cove has contributed to shaping her into the competitor she is today.
“Where I used to live is very small and the sports area wasn’t as intense,” Honea explained.
“There’s definitely more competition here and I’ve always thought about what if I never moved to Cove?”
Honea grew up in Mertzon, just outside San Angelo, before relocating to Llano before her family settled in Cove.
“I feel like I wouldn’t be the player I was if I didn’t move here,” she said. “Because of the connections I have with people in Austin, the training and just getting better overall.”
As the Lady Dawgs continue the season, Honea has one goal, “This year my goal is to be Defensive MVP for the district.
“I could probably go for offensive stuff, but I’ve always really focused on defense and I like being aggressive and getting after it. That’s one of my strong suits.”
And while Honea has tried other sports, including volleyball, cross country and track, nothing compares to her first love.
“I even tried cheer, believe it or not,” she admitted with a chuckle. “But it’s always been about basketball.”