Getting to Know U: Freshman Jenna Johnson
Utah women's basketball signed two talented players from Minnesota for the upcoming season. Today we hear from Jenna Johnson, a forward from Medina, Minnesota. Johnson was an ESPN Top 50 recruit out of high school and was rated the No. 7 forward nationally. She was a 4A all-state selection as a junior and a three-time all-conference selection. Johnson averaged 22.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 67 percent from the floor as a junior. She played AAU for North Tartan and helped the team to the AAU National Championship in 2018.
Johnson recently caught up with UtahUtes.com to chat about why she is looking forward to this season, what made her fall in love with the game, and what her dream job is after graduation.
Season tickets for the 2021-22 season are now available. Floor seats are priced at $100 while general admission tickets at $25. Call the Utah ticket office at 801-581-UTIX or visit www.UtahTickets.com.
Q: When did you start playing basketball? Who was your favorite player growing up?
A: I started playing basketball when I was in 2nd grade. I didn't have a specific player I looked up to when I was young, but the Minnesota Lynx were really good, so I enjoyed watching Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekah Brunson, and Sylvia Fowles win championships in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017.
Q: What about the sport of basketball made you fall in love with it?
A: I think the main thing that made me fall in love with basketball was the people I've met through it. I've been fortunate to play with many great people who also happen to be excellent basketball players! I've made great friendships through the sport and had the privilege of playing for some great coaches, which has made basketball a lot more fun!
Q: What about the University of Utah made you want to continue your career here?
A: I liked the coaching staff, felt comfortable with the team on my visits, and was excited about playing against the top competition in the country in the PAC-12.
Q: What has been your favorite part about playing basketball at Utah so far?
A: I think it's just been fun to have so many resources to make us the best student-athletes we can be. I feel like I have so many people helping me become the best player I can be, and all I have to do is take advantage of it! I am also happy to finally play with the team and learn from all the coaches.
Q: Who in your life has been the most influential in getting you where you are today?
A: My old AAU coach Ruth Sinn. Outside of my parents, she's had the most significant impact on my life thus far. She was extremely passionate about basketball and taught me so much about the game. I would get a film breakdown from her at 2 a.m., she taught me how to play skilled basketball, and she also helped me learn how to believe in myself and remember basketball isn't what defines me as a person. She showed me what a strong, confident woman looked like. I'm forever thankful I got to play for her.
Q: What is your dream job and why?
A: I have no clue! I change my mind all the time. I've thought about working in an athletic department, being a real estate agent, or teaching/coaching at a high school.
Q: What was it like growing up in your hometown? Any specific memories that stand out?
A: It was great growing up in my hometown. Many of the girls on my high school basketball team have been on my team since 4th grade. When we were young, we'd go to basketball tournaments most weekends throughout the winter. It was a ton of fun making memories, playing basketball, and having fun with your best friends. I always remember sitting by the TV at night waiting to see if the elementary or middle school would get cancelled for snow or cold. We'd have to have over a foot of snow or it to get to -50 to be cancelled, so I'm looking forward to these warm SLC winters.
Q: What is your favorite basketball moment growing and why?
A: My favorite basketball moments growing up were always our games against our conference rival, Hopkins. Almost every time we played, the game would sell out, so our gyms would be packed with 1,000's and 1,000's of fans. There would be huge student sections, local TV stations, reporters, and one-time NBA players even showed up! Almost everyone who played in those games would eventually go D1, so it was highly competitive, and a lot of the time, we were ranked #1 and #2 in the state. Before games, I would look up at the stands and be amazed at how much people cared to watch this basketball game! It was always fun to be in that atmosphere and get to play such high-level competition in a heated rivalry game.
Q: What is something people might not know about you?
A: Something people might not know about me is that I've had a lot of pets in my life! I used to foster rabbits (fostered 9 in 2 years), we've always had dogs, and we have owned many horses!
Q: What are you most looking forward to this season?
A: I'm looking forward to my first gameday in the Huntsman Center!
Q: If you could tell our fans one thing, what would it be?
A: I can't wait to see you all in the Huntsman this year! After COVID, I'm looking forward to having people back in the stands cheering us on!
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Fans can follow along during the 2021-22 season on social media (Twitter: @UtahWBB | Instagram: @UtahWBB | Facebook: Facebook.com/UtahWBB).