The term "shooter," isn’t thrown around lightly by coaches during a basketball game. When they say “don’t leave the shooter,” they mean it.
Sajada Bonner (a.k.a. J-Money) is THE SHOOTER. This junior wing is known for letting shots spray all over the court with deadly precision. Let’s not get it twisted though, Sajada isn’t JUST a shooter. She will lock you up in a heartbeat. Bonner is a relentless defender who loves to shut her opponent down. Her Klay Thompson-esque game is one that has division one coaches drooling over her film. If you’re a “3&D” type of coach, then you get will along just fine with Bonner. She’s a cold blooded assassin out there.
Recently we sat down with Sajada at the New Jersey Sparks Showcase to talk about her junior year at St. John Vianney, what it means to her to play for the NYC Exodus, what she is looking for from a collegiate program and more. -Christian Mordi @thedribbledrop
TheDribbleDrop: Let’s talk about your last year with St. John Vianney. Tell me how the season went and the expectations going into next year.
Sajada Bonner: Last year was fun. I thought we showed a lot of teams that we can not only play, but play at an elite level on a national scale. We didn’t finish as well as we envisioned, as we lost to St. Rose in the 3rd round. That was a heartbreaking loss. With that being said, the expectations are still the same, which is to win a Shore Conference Championship and win the T.O.C.
TheDribbleDrop: So you play for one of the best coaches in the state in coach Dawn Karpell. Tell me about your experience with her and the best piece of advice you got from her thus far?
Sajada Bonner: I have known and played for coach since the 7th grade. One thing I like about coach is that she’s on you everyday. You can have an amazing game, but she finds a good way to motivate you to push yourself further next time on the floor.
One of the best pieces of advice she gave me is about being relentless on the floor. To bring it everytime and never play soft.
TheDribbleDrop: You decided to play with the NYC Exodus. Tell me why that is an ideal fit for you and your style of play.
Sajada Bonner: Coach Thomas is a great coach. He lets me play free and showcase what I can do on the floor. He’s hard on us but in a good way. He motivates us to become better players everyday.
TheDribbleDrop: Give us one word to describe the play of your AAU team.
Sajada Bonner: Scrappy. We have a very aggressive mindset and we all get after it defensively every time out.
TheDribbleDrop: You guys are on the EYBL circuit. For those who don't know, tell them the level of competition on the circuit.
Sajada Bonner: It’s extremely hard everytime out. Everyone is coming after you every game as everyone is competing for a national championship. There are no easy games. Everyone is good. There are no breaks on the EYBL.
TheDribbleDrop: What is your favorite session date? Boo Williams? Chicago?
Sajada Bonner: Chicago. The vibe at the nationals is great. My favorite team to play against is Boo Williams. They always have athletes and they get after you on both sides of the floor.
TheDribbleDrop: If you were to highlight one facet of your game that makes you stand out, what would it be and why?
Sajada Bonner: My versatility. My ability to get to the basket but still be able to knock down shots from deep
TheDribbleDrop: Today you played in the New Jersey Sparks Showcase. Describe the pace of each game and how you guys performed.
Sajada Bonner: Game one was really rough on us. It was eye opening I think though. We came out pretty relaxed and we tightened up a lot the last two games. We pushed the ball and defended hard. The last two represent the team we are this year.
TheDribbleDrop: Tell me one facet of your game your worked hard to improve on this off-season that you wanted to take to another level
Sajada Bonner: Shooting off the dribble.
TheDribbleDrop: Right now you are uncommitted, what are some things you are looking for from a school?
Sajada Bonner: Well I’m looking for a school that like to get after it defensively. A team that runs different pressure defenses. I want to play with a team that wants to press all game and put pressure defense on teams the entire game.
I also don’t want to be too far from home. I want to be able to play for a team that you can play numerous positions offensively. A interchangeable style. I don’t want to play a more robotic style of play. I want a coach that will push me and develop me fully for four years.
TheDribbleDrop: What’s your personal and team goal for your senior year.
Sajada Bonner: To win everything.