CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A sixth grader at Robious Middle School in Chesterfield is turning heads on the basketball court. Eleven-year-old Lanie Grant started playing basketball two and a half years ago.
She's dedicated and mentally tough.
“My goal is to just be the best. Be the best player on the court everywhere I go,” said Lanie.
The game didn't come to Lanie automatically when she first picked up the basketball.
"My shot was really awful. I mean I couldn’t make nine out of 10 from three feet away."
But, Lanie is not a quitter. She worked with trainers and focused on fundamentals to get better. Her dad, Jeff Grant is one of her coaches. He encourages her to follow thru with her workouts, but he says Lanie is self-motivated and wants to improve. Jeff says he and his wife often have to force their daughter to put the ball down and take a break.
“She is the hardest working kid I’ve ever been around. Really not even kid, she’s one of the hardest working people that I’ve ever been around," he said.
Lanie's hard work is paying off. She earned a top spot on the National Youth All American Rankings Report, which lists her as the third-best prospect in the nation among her peers.
She has also captured the attention of sports reporters from the Wall Street Journal. Lanie was recently featured in an article by the paper because of an app she uses on called Homecourt. It records video of her workouts and then gives her tips on how to improve her jump shot.
"I used to be like a 76.50% shooter and now I’m up to the 80-90s, so it’s really helped," she said.
Her dad says the developers from the app contacted him after they noticed Lanie's work ethic. They wanted to know if she had any suggestions to make the app better.
"The folks that developed it and launched it are ex-Apple engineers, very successful entrepreneurs with a big passion for basketball."
According to the app's data, Lanie is outworking almost everyone who uses the technology, including professional athletes. It lists Lanie as the second highest user.
"There are NBA players, college players, WNBA players. Since she has started using the app, she has taken 69,000 shots," Jeff said.
Lanie's goal is to take 100,000 shots this year.
"I keep saying 100,000 come on you can do it, you got this just keep chipping away at it," said Lanie.
Lanie calls the accomplishments she has made in such a short time surreal, but she and her dad agree there is still lots of work to be done.
"A lot of people that I know say you’re really hardworking and you’re going to make it keep practicing. People that I don’t know are like oh, she’s going to burn out. I use all of that to keep pushing harder," Lanie said.
Her goal is to play Division I basketball and then earn a spot in the WNBA.
"After I finish my WNBA career, I plan on becoming a sports medicine doctor so that I can still be around the game," said Lanie.