Player set to be the best with support from her Dad, her Coach and Noah Colorado Springs: Doherty High School Player Kim Cerjan says: "I love the game more than anything... Noah has definitely improved my accuracy and consistency."
At that moment, it was the one thing in the world that Kim Cerjan wanted most. No, the 16 year old didn't wish for tickets to a Justin Bieber concert. Nor did she desire the latest in teen fashion. This is Kim we're talking about—a junior at Doherty High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., who boasts that basketball is her life.
"I love the game more than anything," Kim said.
So when Noah's National Sales Director Rick Turk visited her high school to give a free clinic, and Kim tried the Noah Select system for the first time, she was instantly hooked.
"I told my dad I had to get one right away," Kim said. Her father, Keith Cerjan, also was intrigued by the system. Although Keith was never a basketball player, he said Turk's explanation of the science behind Noah made a lot of sense.
"All I could think of is ‘man, what a great tool,'" Keith said. "I could see how each girl improved just from the free clinic. The technology was amazing."
Every member of the Doherty High School girls' basketball team shot on the Noah and received a printout at the end of the clinic. Kim earned an Expert III certification.
"I loved how I could get instant feedback," Kim said.
Doherty Coach J'on St.Clair agreed. "Noah is a great tool for instant feedback," St.Clair said. "Noah is a great eye catcher. Some of the kids think it's a big speaker and they want to hook up their iPods to it. After I tell them it's a shooting machine, they get excited and want to use it."
Now that Kim knew she wanted a Noah, she had to find a way to convince her father to purchase one for the family home. It took her one night to persuade him.
"I kept asking him and finally he said ‘yes!'" Kim said.
"She didn't have to work real hard to convince me," Keith said. "I was already leaning toward buying one because I thought it would be so great for our kids (Kim and younger brother Kole). I looked at it as an investment. Maybe Noah can help them get basketball scholarships or help them enjoy the game they love even more. Either way, I knew I would get my investment back."
Keith wanted to set up Noah in the Cerjan's sports court in the backyard. Unfortunately, the place where he wanted to put Noah was not level. Keith called Turk and was told that even ground was critical.
"So I had a custom platform built for the Noah to sit on," Keith explained.
When Noah arrived to the Cerjan's home late last summer, Kim and Kole used the system multiple times a week. Sometimes, Keith would look out his window and see Kim or Kole working on Noah alone.
"It was so good for Kim because we didn't have access to the school gym," Keith said. "She was able to really maximize her practice time at home even when she worked on her shooting by herself."
When school started again, the Cerjans happily brought Noah to Doherty High School and to Jenkins Middle School where Kole attends. Coach St.Clair quickly noticed Kim's shooting improvement.
"I have coached boys for the past 16 years, and I have had only a few players out work Kim," St.Clair said. "If Kim had her way, she would have an indoor gym in her back yard. She loves to play basketball and she is driven to be the best."
That love for the game and her level of commitment have driven Kim to become one of the top prep shooters in Colorado.
As Kim's season ended in the Sweet 16 Round of the State Tournament, the 5-foot-10 combo guard and forward averaged 12.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 1.9 assists per game. In Colorado's highest division (Class 5A), Kim ranked first in the state for all divisions in free throw percent at 86.84 percent (66 of 76) and tied for fourth in Class 5A in three-pointers per game at 1.8 (44 of 129 for 34.1 percent). The Spartans sported an 18-7 record and ranked 14th in the state.
Kim said she started playing basketball in the fourth grade and became known as a shooter in the ninth grade. She loves to catch and shoot and her favorite spot is behind the three-point line on the left wing. There isn't a three-pointer she won't take, but her basketball IQ tells her to drive to the basket late in games to take advantage of her free throw shooting.
"Noah has definitely improved my accuracy and consistency," Kim said. "It has boosted my confidence. I feel like I'm shooting correctly, but I feel like I just don't have to be a shooter. I can also drive the ball and draw some fouls."
Beyond the basketball court, Kim excels in the classroom. Her 4.24 GPA ranks her 31st out of a junior class of 480 students at Doherty. Kim has received some college inquiries and hopes to play at the next level. She also wants to study veterinarian medicine.
Although Doherty's season ended earlier than they hoped in the state playoffs, Coach St.Clair already has set some expectations for Kim next year.
"My goal is for Kim to become a 20 point per game scorer," he said. "I'd like her to get to the free throw line 4-5 times per game in addition to 2-3 three-pointers per game. I have no doubt this can happen because of Kim's strong work ethic."