STATESIDE-based college basketball star Johannah Leedham has received the top team accolade of all.
Her unparalleled success on court has led to her jersey being ‘retired’ by her championship-winning college team. No other player will ever be allowed to wear the Franklin Pierce College Ravens number 13 shirt in tribute to the 22-year-old.
The former Ellesmere Port Catholic High pupil, from Litton Sutton, led her young New Hampshire team to play-off victory on Sunday in the American college league NCAA Division Two.
In the semi-final on Friday she became the all-time career top-scorer in the North Eastern US region, known as the Northeast-10 Conference.
On Sunday, the Ravens scored a 70-59 victory over Stonehill in the 2010 play-off final with Leedham making 31 points to underpin that performance as the Ravens qualified for the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week.
She is also the top female scorer in the entire United States college system for 2009/10 and Ravens coach Steve Hancock, whose assistant coach is Johannah’s sister Jennifer, said he had the best player in America on his team.
“Her presence means everything to us,” he said. “I just can’t find a word to describe what she does for us. She’s the best player ever to come around at our level. She just makes everybody else better.
“She’s our MVP, she’s a great, great team leader off the court, and on the court, she does it all.
“Johannah’s all about winning, she’s all about the team. She’s not about individual efforts or individual records, she’d throw those away for a win. That’s the way she plays.”
But the individual records are racking up. She has been named Northeast-10 player of the year for a third straight season – equalling the record – and she has smashed almost every game and career record Franklin Pierce and the NCAA have.
The list of Northeast-10 women’s basketball records she set this season included career scoring, career free throws made, career steals and career field goals made.
Leedham’s impressive accomplishments have been recognised at the conference, national and international levels as she was named Pre-season National Player of the Year and Honorable-Mention Player of the Decade by Women’s Division Two Bulletin as well as being named British Basketball’s 2009 Olympic Athlete of the Year and England Basketball’s National Player of the Year.