It’s been a year full of surprises and accomplishments for Montverde Academy star Janiah Barker. Earlier this year, the No. 3 recruit in the Class of 2022 earned Burger Girl status when she was named a McDonald’s All American, and earlier this month she helped lead her squad to a Geico National Championship. On Wednesday, the five-star senior announced that she’ll be taking her undeniable talents to Texas A&M and suiting up for the Aggies, making her the highest-ranked signee for the program since Chennedy Carter.
Barker had initially committed to the University of Georgia but changed her mind after former Bulldogs head coach Joni Taylor left the program for Texas A&M this spring. Other top 2022 Georgia commits like Sydney Bowles and Tineya Hylton also decided to join her in the Lone Star State.
“I’m excited to start something new, especially with coach Joni,” Barker said back in February when asked about playing for Taylor. “She’s been there but it’s her era now, I want to help her get to where she’s wanting to go…Hopefully, get her a national championship, that’s what I’ve told her. I’m gonna give her one in one of my four years.”
On the court, the 6-3 forward means business, and in 21 games this season, she averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds. With her talent and confidence making it look easy to dismantle opposing offenses, Barker attests her confidence to her work ethic and the support she’s received from her family. “You can only be confident in something you know you’ve been working on,” Barker tells WSLAM. “I just want to be the best. I want to be the best. With that, your work ethic has to be incredible [and] more than anybody. I have to be [in] over time, [putting up] extra shots, in the gym when everybody’s not, [being] the first person there. It can be a lot, but a lot comes with being the best.”
The best is exactly what the future Aggie has her eyes set on becoming, and even with all of her accomplishments, Barker isn’t slowing down any time soon, as she gets ready to enter a new chapter.
“It’s really surreal,” Barker says. “I’m on a USA team, I got 2 gold medals. That is something that everybody has not done. That is not normal, that’s rare.”
“I thank God I’ve done it, but I don’t see myself in that type of top-tier aspect. And maybe one day it’ll click, and I’ll give myself those props. But right now, I just see myself as me and I just see it like, ‘I did that, it’s an accomplishment.’ There’s more to do than what I’ve done and I just want to keep building, keep going.”
Portraits by Johnny Lewis. Action photo via Getty Images.