Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Kiana Potter, seen here during the Region V tournament, committed to playing basketball for Whitman College in Washington on April 8, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Kiana Potter, seen here during the Region V tournament, committed to playing basketball for Whitman College in Washington on April 8, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

One for all: JDHS senior signs for college ball with some unlikely help

Juneau residents look out for each other.

Thunder Mountain High School and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé may be rivals on the court, but Juneau residents look out for each other no matter what colors they were.

In this case, when Whitman College was looking to sign a point guard, TMHS girls coach Andy Lee pointed them in a direction that some might find surprising — JDHS player Kiana Potter.

“It’s funny that he’s part of the rival school. But he’s been great,” Potter said in a phone interview. “He had this connection to Whitman, and they reached out looking for a guard and he recommended me.”

Potter signed her letter of intent to play for Whitman on Thursday and will be playing basketball for them beginning next season.

“I’m pretty excited. I’m honestly just pumped to keep playing basketball,” Potter said. “Obviously the way my senior season ended was not how I wanted to end my basketball career so I’m pumped to keep playing.”

[Dunleavy asks White House to allow cruises]

Her father, JDHS girls basketball coach Steve Potter, said he was excited that she’d been able to sign with a team even with the disruption of the pandemic.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Kiana Potter signs to playing basketball for Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., on April 8, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Kiana Potter signs to playing basketball for Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., on April 8, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“To a certain extent it’s a relief. She’s been working towards it for a long time. The whole COVID stuff kinda threw her plans out the window,” Steve Potter said in a phone interview. “She planned on traveling with an (Amateur Athletic Union) team. There was an Anchorage team that had picked her up. She was hoping to get seen.”

Lee said he was happy to point Whitman in her direction.

“It was an easy thing to do. All kids are kids. If you’re coaching, you’re in effect, part of a basketball community, and in Juneau, I worked with her mom and played sports with her dad,” Lee said in a phone interview. “It goes beyond personal. She’s a basketball player. She earned everything she got. I think her best basketball is ahead of her. I think she hasn’t reached the potential of her skills, and I think the best place to realize that is at a school with high academic standards.”

Supporting Juneau’s young men and women to achieve their dreams transcends team colors, Lee said.

“I think if i can help someone, you go all in. It was an easy thing to do. This wasn’t it about it being a rival coach’s daughter. It’s a Juneau kid. I knew her attitude and aptitude and skills would speak for themselves,” Lee said. “I’m really proud for any small part I played. I plan to be in the bleachers when she plays a college game someday. I’m real proud of her.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Kiana Potter, seen here with her parents, committed to playing basketball for Whitman College in Washington on April 8, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Kiana Potter, seen here with her parents, committed to playing basketball for Whitman College in Washington on April 8, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Kiana Potter credits her parents, both of whom were involved in coaching her over the years, as her inspiration.

“They were pretty excited. My mom played in college and my dad was my coach all through high school. They’ve been so supportive of my basketball career,” Kiana Potter said. “Her playing has always been a really big inspiration for me playing basketball. Since a super young age, I was like, I’m gonna do that.”

While she’ll miss things about Juneau, Kiana Potter said, she’s ready to get down to school in Walla Walla come autumn.

“It’s about the size of Juneau and it’s a lot sunnier, so that’s nice. It’s different because it’s not by the ocean and surrounded by mountains like Juneau, which I love. It’ll be an adjustment but I’m looking forward to it,” Kiana said. “I’m looking forward to getting out of Juneau and starting the next chapter of my life. Basketball is the most exciting part of it.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in Sports

Zack Pursell, assistant coach for the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé track team, puts James Connally’s name on the school record board for breaking a long-standing record for the 100 meter dash on May 11, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
JDHS junior breaks 40-year-old school track record

The 100 meter dash record has stood since Reagan was president.

Caleb Peimann, surrounded by family and coaches, signs his letter of intent to swim for Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Courtesy photo / Scott Griffith)
Sprung for the Springs: JDHS senior signs with Colorado College

He’ll compete on the liberal arts college’s swim team.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and Thunder Mountain High School track teams held a meet at TMHS on April 30, 2021 as the track season gets going. (Courtesy photo / Dwayne Duskin)
Track teams up and running for spring season

Athletes are excited to get competing, coaches say.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire 
JDHS’ Gloria Bixby slides safe into second base and under the tag of TMHS’ Jenna Dobson during the first inning of a drizzly Friday night game against Thunder Mountain High School. JDHS leaped out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning and wound up winning 15-0.
Stealing bases, giving to a cause

Softball game raises money for mental health awareness.

Members of Thunder Mountain High School's four robotics teams stand with four robots. (Courtesy Photo / Carol May)
Wired to win:Robotics teams earn awards in state contest

TMHS team took top honors but weren’t the only winners.

Members of the JDHS boys soccer team help junior Callan Smith celebrate a goal in the season opener against TMHS Tuesday night. In the end, TMHS walked away with a 3-2 victory. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
High school boys soccer returns

TMHS bests JDHS in first game since 2019

Thunder Mountain High School junior Kiah Dihle kicks the ball during a game against Ketchikan High School. (Courtesy Photo / Zach Hanna)
Girls soccer seasons off to energetic start

Both teams had solid wins over Ketchikan before facing off at home.

TMHS Infielder Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale drives a ball during a recent scrimmage held at the high school. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Softball season is now in full swing

TMHS, JDHS travel for games against Southeast teams.

Emma Fellman, who was among the high point award winners on Glacier Swim Club among the 14 and older girls group, makes her way through the water at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center. (Courtesy Photo / Shireen Taintor)
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s cheer team, shown here after winning the Region V competition, went on to win the state championships for their division for 2021. (Courtesy photo / Carlene Nore)
JDHS cheerleaders take state title as season wraps up

Small teams and empty gyms were the rule, not the exception this year.