It’s quite extraordinary for a Grade 10 student to be on the radar of so many Division I NCAA basketball programs. But that’s exactly what 15-year-old Kanani Coon is—extraordinary. The Kelowna teen has been turning heads on the hardwood since she first started playing organized basketball in Grade 7. Three years later, she’s fielding calls from Division I schools like UCLA and North Dakota while keeping the door open for Canadian schools.
In an interview with Castanet, Coon said she isn’t leaning in a certain direction quite yet and won’t have to make a final decision until after her Grade 11 year.
Standing at 6’1”, it’s clear that Coon’s combination of height and skill has caught the attention of multiple high level basketball programs. However, her decision will not be solely based on basketball as she is eager to follow another goal—continue her education and become a doctor.
As an Indigenous athlete, Coon realizes people in her community will look up to her for inspiration and she hopes to continue to make a positive impact on the youth around her.
“I know a lot of First Nations kids have not had as many opportunities as I have had.” Coon said. “So I am really thankful for that and I am always thinking about that and trying to be a role model for the First Nations community and especially kids my age.”
Kanani Coon’s basketball journey will no doubt be one to keep an eye on over the coming years as she continues her successful high school career with sights set on collegiate ball. Beyond college, Coon is eager to take her game to the international stage. Playing for Team Canada Women’s Team in the Olympics is her next goal which is great news for Canadian basketball fans. The Women’s Team is currently ranked 4th in the world, and with their future success in the hands of young athletes like Coon, is poised for future international success.