Patch spoke with 17-year-old Ta'Kendra Elbert, a Tartan High School junior and member of the girls basketball team, who recently scored her 2,000th point this year at a game against the Winona Senior High School's Winhawks on Dec. 29.
Elbert averages 35 points per game and has scored more than 40 points on more than one occassion. She has not scored less than 30 points this season. The Lady Titans are 8-3 overall and leading their Classic Suburban Conference by 2-0.
Here's what Elbert had to say:
Oakale Patch: How long have you been playing basketball?
Elbert: I have been playing basketball since I was 6 years old.
Oakale Patch: What made you want to get into that sport?
Elbert: I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois for the first half of my life. In the summertime, I would go to this all-summer long camp and every year they would hold a basketball league. It was mostly boys that participated in the league, but I wanted to be better at everything the boys did, so I decided to join the league also. It was centered on the NBA, so the teams were named after professional teams. I was on the Lakers.
Oakale Patch: What do you think gives you an edge in the game? What's your "secret"?
Elbert: Ha! I can’t tell you my secret or else it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, would it? But anyways, my ability to score in many different ways, I would say gives me an edge. Whether it’s driving into the lane for the floater, stopping and popping for the pull-up jumper or spotting up for the three-pointer. It helps to always have the defense guessing about what I’m going to do next. Also, my versatility. Not only am I able to score, but I can dish the ball off for the assist and crash the boards for the rebound.
Oakale Patch: How did it feel making that 2,000 point mark?
Elbert: It honestly felt like déjà vu! Last year, I reached my 1,000th point career milestone around the same time on Dec. 22 and this year I reached the 2,000th point on Dec. 29. So everything was pretty much the same except for the location; the weather was really, really cold. It did feel a little different not being able to score the 2,000 at home, but my family, teammates and the Tartan program made it feel like I was at home, so it was amazing!
Oakale Patch: I also hear you are involved in the National Honor Society and have a GPA of 4.4. What else are you involved in? How do you find time for all of this?
Elbert: I am involved in the Tartan Plaid Press which is our school newspaper and also Link Crew which is a freshmen guidance group. I have my own online blog through the Plaid Press that I can just rant on about anything. I’m also on the Varsity Tartan Volleyball and Track teams. At times it’s hard to keep up with everything but I am a very organized person which makes many things a lot easier. Most of these activities I’m able to complete in school along with homework. So it may not seem like it, but I have lots of free time.
Oakale Patch: What are your plans for the future?
Elbert: Well first, I have to graduate high school. But I plan to go on to college and study in Business Administration. I also plan to play Division I basketball, although I not yet sure for who.