Mikaela Dokes is a young basketball sensation. At the tender age of six, Mikaela is advanced well beyond her years and she is only getting better.
Recently, I came across a video of Mikaela doing a basketball dribbling drill. I was amazed at the ability of the young girl and I checked out her other videos. One after another, I saw young Mikaela dribbling, shooting and doing all sorts of other basketball drills. In every video, I saw intensity in her eyes, but perhaps more important, I saw a smile on her face.
Wanting to know more and to share her story, I reached out to her father Walter about interviewing Mikaela and him. He was extremely gracious and yesterday, I had the pleasure of talking to Mikaela and Walter.
I could have interviewed Walter by himself, but we wanted people to see Mikaela and to get to know her. Also, if she keeps on her path (and I am totally confident she will), there will be many more interviews in her future.
Interviewing a six year old can be challenging. Youngsters are nervous and unfamiliar with the process, but Mikaela was a champ. She answered all the questions and even politely corrected me (and rightly so), when I mistakenly referred to her as a five year old.
Mikeala plays in several leagues and has attended many basketball camps. In one league, she plays with third graders. Although those girls are older and bigger, Mikaela keeps up with them (or they keep up with her, as I said in the interview). What she lacks in size (compared to the older girls) she makes up for in ability and determination.
Going into the interview, one main question I wanted to ask her father was about balancing basketball with all else in a six year old's life. Walter simply stated it all starts with God. The family obviously has a deep faith and is guided by that faith. Walter pushes his daughter hard in practices, but he always makes sure she is having fun with it. Mikaela wouldn't want it any other way. She is often the one asking about more practice.
I don't know where such a deep dedication originates in a six year old, but it's there in Mikaela. She already has a goal to play basketball at Notre Dame, like Sam Brunelle, one of her favorites, and in about 12 years, we will see Mikaela wearing a Fighting Irish jersey, too.
I always enjoy watching a young player's career develop. Usually that means watching them from high school or college. In Mikaela's case, I'm starting much earlier and I'll get to enjoy more of her progression.
As I told Walter, this was hopefully just our first interview. I plan on following Mikaela's journey all the way to the WNBA. By then, all the major sports media outlets will have discovered Mikaela and joined in covering her. I just hope she remembers me when she becomes that big star.
I encourage everyone to follow Mikaela Dokes Athlete on Facebook. Walter posts videos of her training and playing. She already has nearly 5,000 followers and that number, like her talent, will just keep growing.
I asked Walter to send updates to me so I can continue to share her story with our readers. The fun is just beginning with Mikaela.