Family pushes Kendra Long

Kendra Long has a supportive family and is generally inspired by people, hence her sociology major and compassion for others. Long is a student, daughter, sister and friend.

She also happens to be the school record-holder for 3-point baskets made (165) and the only senior on the women’s basketball team.

Long loves the Georgia State campus because of its diverse environment and that her roommate Alisha Andrews doubles as her new backcourt mate. She is “like a sister” to Long.

“On the weekends we get together, we walk to Waffle House, go to the rec [center],” she said.

Long also loves the campus because of the location––it’s only a fifteen minute drive from her family.

Long’s close-knit family serves as a great support system: Her mom, Trina; dad, Kedral; and older brother, Kedral Jr. cheer her on at every home game.

Her mom regularly visits her dorm at The Lofts and cooks dinner for Long and Andrews.

Before Long plays, she listens to her brother’s music to pump her up. Kendral Jr. also sends her a text message before every game, which makes her feel more confident on the court.

“I have it so loud, my Dre Beats,” Long said. “My brother sends me a text before every game, too. He says, ‘Go hard,’ stuff like that. It helps.”

Her brother also happens to be a big influence on how she began her basketball career 14 years ago.

“I used to be in the house watching cartoons [and] my brother and his friends used to make too much noise outside,” Long said. “I’d used to look and I was like, ‘I should go play!’”

Her basketball career began when she made the boys 14-and-under basketball team at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta when she was only seven years old.

“I only scored one point the whole year,” she said.

Long has hobbies outside of basketball, too. Like many other girls, she loves shopping.

“I like shoes, Jordans. I have 20-something pairs,” Long said. “Every year in January, I give like four pairs away. I put a picture on Instagram and say, ‘Anyone know anyone who needs some shoes?'”

On top of being a student athlete and having hobbies outside of basketball, Long takes classes like every other student.

Her academic adviser has study hall hours made for her, and the adviser balances the hours with team practices. Tutors are also made available to student-athletes.

Long studies sociology because she wants to help children.

“I wanted to have the ability to help young children channel their inner emotions and be able to express themselves in a way that would be beneficial to them not only now, but in the future,” she said.

As far as being a leader on the team goes, Long knows she has a responsibility.

“I think that’s what I have to do,” Long said. “I’m older…I’ve been here the longest. So they’re going to look at me and see what I do, and go by that.”

Long was named to the Sun Belt All-Conference Preseason Team Third Team as one of the top 15 players, but is modest and humble.

She didn’t celebrate, but her family congratulated her when they found out.

Long has been playing basketball at Georgia State since she was a freshman. She was originally planned to play at Georgia Tech, but found a better opportunity at Georgia State.

“The real reason behind it is when I signed [to play at Georgia Tech] they said I had to get redshirted because in high school I had a breathing problem…I didn’t want that,” Long said. “I said, ‘I’m going to get signed at Georgia State.'”

Coach Baldwin-Tener has no doubts about how Long will perform in the upcoming season.

“Kendra…has a great attitude and the other players respect what she brings to the team. She’s never missed a game and comes ready to play.”

Long knows what the team is up against for the 2014 conference play. For their first conference game on Jan. 1 they will play Troy, the defending conference champions.

“We’re ready for it. We’re excited to play…we’re ready to play,” Long said.

Once the coming season is over, Long plans to graduate in summer 2014.

Her preference would be to stay close to her family in Atlanta post-graduation, but if a unique opportunity such as playing basketball overseas presented itself, she would take it. Long will know by mid-season if that is a possibility.

“I’m from here…I love it. I’m not going nowhere. Unless I go overseas, that’s the only way. Ain’t no place like home.”