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Southlake Style

O'Neal Makes Early Commitment to Texas Volleyball

Jun 13, 2016 07:58AM ● By Kevin

Photo courtesy of Asjia O'Neal on Twitter.

Every now and then, we catch up with college-bound athletes from Carroll High School. This week, we chatted with sophomore Asjia O'Neal, middle hitter for the Dragons, who heads to the University of Texas to continue her athletic endeavors in 2018.

"Asjia is an exceptional talent that continues to improve with each time she steps on the court," said Carroll girls volleyball head coach Ryan Mitchell. "She works hard to improve each area of her game and makes a huge difference on this team. Her connection with the setters has improved this off season and is looking strong for the 2016 season.

"She will lead this high school team on offense and is trouble for opposing teams at the net.  Her blocking ability might be one of her most under rated talents and she wreaks havoc on the opposing teams offense."

Southlake Style: Congratulations! Why did you choose Texas? 

Asjia O'Neal: Ever since I started playing volleyball, Texas has been my dream school. When I went on the visit, I just loved the coaches, campus and girls. While I was there, I knew that was where I needed to go.

SS: This is an early commitment for you. What are your hopes and plans for your volleyball career between now and college? 

O'Neal: Hopefully, I’m trying to get a lot better with blocking and improve a lot. Club next year should be a big year for me and my improvement, so that I can go to Texas and start playing from the jump.

SS: You received lots of accolades this year, including being named district Blocker of the Year and helped your team to a district title. What are your thoughts on all of that?

O'Neal: I think I improved pretty quickly, especially between freshman year and sophomore year. It had a lot to do with confidence and being a part of the team. I believed in myself more and improved faster than I was improving before. 

SS: What’s it like being the daughter of a professional athlete (Jermaine O'Neal)? Do you feel like you have a competitive edge because it's in your genes and your dad can be there to offer you advice on the psychological aspect and competitive aspect of sports in general?

O'Neal: Yeah, I do. Being around sports all my life, I’ve always had a competitive personality about me. My dad pushes me extra hard. He’s an athlete and knows what it takes to be the best at what you do. Having an athlete as a parent definitely helps drive me and push me.

SS: What do you hope to accomplish when you get to Texas?

O'Neal: My goal is to be an All-American. I hope to start my freshman year, and if not, play as much as possible. I hope to be a good impact and help for the team.

SS: What do you hope to accomplish as an adult (after college)?

O'Neal: After college, I want to go up to Oregon and work for Nike in their marketing management area. That’s what I want to major in. I want to work with Nike in advertising and marketing.

SS: Who do you attribute the improvements to your game over the years?

O'Neal: I’d probably say my high school coach, coach [Ryan] Mitchell. He’s pushed me a lot. I think I’m better because of him. I’ve improved so much just in the two years I’ve played for him. 

SS: You had open heart surgery a few years ago, can you reflect on how far along you’ve come in that short amount of time? 

O'Neal: After the surgery, within three days, they said that was the fastest they’ve ever seen someone come out. For a month to two months, I was watching practice, and then I thought I wanted to get ready and help my team get to nationals. So I worked harder and recovered pretty quickly.

SS: Who is Asjia O’neal off the court? What do you like to do in your free time?

O'Neal: I love going to the mall, hang out with my friends, seeing movies. My family and I see movies all the time. That’s what I spend most of my free time doing.

SS: What’s your favorite class at school and why?

O'Neal: English is my favorite class because I always liked writing. I’m more of a creative thinker rather than math and science. It’s my favorite class because I get to express myself any way that I choose to.

SS: Now that you have two years under your belt, what do you hope to teach to the underclassmen as you become a leader on the team?

O'Neal: I hope the underclassmen feel comfortable around me and I can help give them confidence. That’s such a crucial part being an athlete. I want to be a mentor and a friend, not to feel like I’m in charge of them; just to rely on me to help them make an impact on the team.