Kia Baker, City, basketball

Q&A --

February 14, 2007

City senior Kia Baker doesn't always show up in the box score, but she plays a vital role for the Knights, who are on their way to the Baltimore City title game for a fourth straight season. She provides leadership to a team that usually starts two freshmen and two sophomores alongside her. Baker, who also plays volleyball and softball for the Knights, has a 3.5 grade point average while carrying a challenging academic load. In college, she plans to major in sports medicine and is considering playing basketball.

What is your role as the only senior on the team?

My role is basically to give wisdom to my teammates about basic basketball knowledge and make sure everybody stays on track. Also [playing] defense, man-to-man. Denying the ball to a player is something I really enjoy. It's intense. I like to keep moving. I can't just stand in one spot. I like to keep it tough for the other team.

What have the youngsters brought to the team this season?

Talent. A lot of talent. And they're really dedicated to the team. I think we're going to go real far with them. They bring intensity and make the game go faster. We're moving down the court much faster than we used to do offensively, and defensively, we're getting more steals. Our game has really improved.

Do the young players look up to you? Do they turn to you for advice?

If they don't know something or aren't sure about something, they'll come to me and ask. They have respect for me. It's fun. It's kind of challenging because they're so talented, so I try to tell them things and I learn things from them, too. I enjoy it.

Would you like to have another year to play with them?

Yes, I would. I think about that all the time. I just know they're going to be good in the future and I will definitely come back to visit.

How did you get interested in sports medicine?

I got injured a lot. I fractured my wrist playing basketball in flip-flops. I fell and had to catch myself. That was 11th grade, during the fall. I broke my nose twice, playing recently at the Basketball Academy and playing softball my 10th-grade year.

What made the impression on you that made you think, "I want to do this," or did it build over time?

Basically, it just built up when I kept going back all the time to get X-rays. I wanted to know how to make myself not get hurt anymore and how to rehabilitate myself.

What did they tell you - besides not to play basketball in flip-flops - when you asked them how not to get hurt anymore?

They said just wrap myself up [laughs]. My ankles, I sprain them in every sport. They told me to wrap my ankles and do toe raises to strengthen them.

KATHERINE DUNN

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