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On the flight to Waco, Texas, last Thursday, she was already envisioning herself wearing a Baylor uniform, bright yellow trim and all, as she chased an NCAA championship in the coming years. She and her mother Makiesha Scott, who goes by Kiesha, just wanted to make sure the program and campus felt like home. So once Honesty saw the crisp green lawns, shiny brick buildings and Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey lead a spirited practice, she was ready to solidify her next step and verbally commit to Baylor.
“I was relieved,” said Honesty, who announced her decision to play for the Lady Bears on Twitter on Tuesday night. “I felt like a weight was lifting off my shoulders and all the pressure of where I was going to go. It was just very relaxing after that, didn’t have to really stress about anything any more.”
Honesty, a five-star guard who is 18th in ESPN’s Class of 2018 rankings, transferred to Riverdale Baptist before her senior year. The New Jersey native started her high school career at Riverdale, returned home to New Jersey to attend Blair Academy for her sophomore year, then transferred to Paul VI in Fairfax as a junior. But Honesty, who has spent years trying to find the right basketball fit, wanted to finish her high school career where it started.
Next she will start her college career at Baylor. The Lady Bears will get a highly talented combo guard who can run the point, space the floor from the wing and weave through defenses with polished ballhandling skills. Honesty’s 5-foot-10 frame and long arms also make her a versatile defender capable of guarding up to four positions. She took official visits to Ohio State, Ole Miss and finally Baylor this past weekend, and her decision ultimately came down to wanting to play for the Lady Bears’ head coach.
“Mainly, it was about Kim Mulkey,” Honesty said Monday. “She’s a great coach. I could relate to her, she’s explosive and I think she’ll bring the best out of me and overall she’s just a great person.”
From sixth grade on, Honesty’s basketball career was firmly situated on the fast track. When she was 12 years old, she played with 16- and 17-year-old girls on the New York Gauchos’ top team in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League. Ohio State became the first school to recruit her and others soon followed. At 13, she was an eighth grader starting at point guard for Life Center Academy’s high school varsity team.
That pressure, at times amplified in high school by her transfer decisions, led her and her mom to take things slower during her college recruitment process.
“I learned so much with the high school part, with the transferring and stuff like that, we really wanted to take our time with this college thing,” Kiesha said Monday. “I wasn’t going to rush and have her commit in 9th or 10th grade or anything like that. I wanted to take my time and let it all pan out and work itself out. And I think in this situation, it worked out to perfection with Baylor.”
Honesty and Kiesha traveled to Waco this past weekend to confirm a decision that was just about made. Honesty could see herself thriving in Baylor’s up-tempo style of play. Kiesha could relate to Mulkey in a lot of ways: they are both devoted mothers with a girl and boy, fiery around the court, measured and introspective away from it.
On Saturday night, as one of the last events of the official visit, they went to Mulkey’s house for a party. They were joined by the whole Baylor coaching staff, players from the current team and one other recruit who was visiting over the weekend. There was a DJ. The girls did karaoke while the parents judged their performances. They played Pictionary. They ate and danced and, above all else, they celebrated a pledge Honesty had always dreamed of making, then finally did the day before.
“Baylor is for me,” Honesty remembers telling Mulkey. “This is where I want to go. I want you to coach me.”