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Teniya Morant earns first DI offer, has contagious ‘will to win’

Teniya Morant earns first DI offer, has contagious ‘will to win’
Houston High School senior Teniya Morant, left, and her older brother, Ja of the Memphis Grizzlies, right, both play with a passion and energy that impact winning. (Photo: Alana Akil/Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (BVM) – Teniya Morant isn’t fazed by the extra attention that comes with being the younger sister of an NBA superstar.

“She’s been very composed,” first-year Houston High School girls basketball head coach Justin Lewis said of Morant. “She’s had some run-ins with some other players who try to get under her skin because of who she is. As far as the crowd goes, they’re obviously going to chirp at her and do that, but she doesn’t really pay any attention to it.

“One thing about ‘Niya is that when she steps on that floor, she crosses into a different zone.”

It’s one of many similarities Teniya shares with her older brother, Memphis Grizzlies All-Star guard Ja Morant. Their ability to ignore the outside noise and impact winning has helped their respective teams find plenty of success on the court.

For Ja, that means back-to-back playoff appearances for his Grizzlies. For Teniya, it means helping a Houston program return to its winning ways after accumulating a total of just nine wins over the last two seasons.

The Mustangs have already won 18 of their first 25 games this season and Teniya is as big of a reason for that as anything.

“Her best attribute is her passion and energy,” Lewis said of Teniya. “There’s often times where we may come out flat, like we had a game this year where in the first four minutes, we didn’t score a bucket. ‘Niya just locked in, made some plays on defense that not a lot of kids are going to make and pushed the ball up the floor to get some easy buckets for us.

“She does that on a nightly basis. She just brings energy. Her desire and will to win is just contagious.”

After stepping away from the Houston program after 11 games last season, Teniya has found her groove for the Mustangs as a senior leader. The 5-foot-3 guard is averaging 12.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals for a Houston squad that’s 6-3 in district play (18-7 overall).

Teniya’s strong senior campaign has recently resulted in her first Division I basketball offer.

It’s been a slow start to the recruiting process, but luckily for Teniya, her older brother experienced some of the same light recruitment.

Ja was not ranked by recruiting services despite leaving Crestwood High School in Sumter, South Carolina as its all-time leading scorer. His only major Division I offer was from in-state South Carolina and he was accidentally discovered at a camp by mid-major Murray State where he would eventually have his No. 12 jersey retired. Since then, the former No. 2 overall pick and NBA Rookie of the Year signed a five-year extension with the Grizzlies in July and has transformed into one of the NBA’s brightest stars.

Murray State’s Tevin Brown (10) receives a hug from Teniya Morant, Ja Morant’s sister, following their Ohio Valley Conference championship win at Ford Center in Evansville, Ind., on March 9, 2019. The Racers earned the OVC men’s championship title after defeating the Bruins, 77-65. (Photo: Sam Owens/Courier & Press)

It’s proof and evidence that you can go on to have a successful college basketball career (and beyond) despite initially being overlooked. The plan for Teniya, like Ja, is to do just that.

“Any program that gives her a chance, she would make them glad that they did,” Lewis said of Teniya. “There are plenty of schools who would be wise to give her a go.”