Morgan State women’s basketball graduate student Dahnye Redd recently spoke with PressBox about starting her college career at Harford Community College, why she wants to be a coach when she grows older and more. The 5-foot-11 Redd averaged 13.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last year, earning third-team All-MEAC honors.

PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
Dahnye Redd: I’ve always been super athletic. Football was really what I was always interested in, but my mom wasn’t letting me play football. Everybody always said, “You’re tall, you should play basketball,” so that’s how I got into it.

PB: Was there anyone who pushed you in basketball?
DR: One of my big cousins, [Terrell Stevens], he used to always say that I should play, that I would be good at it because I was so athletic and tall, but that’s about it. Nobody pushed me to work out and stuff like that.

PB: You started your college career at Harford Community. What was that experience like for you?
DR: It was great, actually. I had a lot of fun there. I broke a lot of records there, did a lot of good stuff there, so it was a good JuCo experience.

PB: Why did you choose to come to Morgan State?
DR: The first reason was because I had recently lost my [grandfather, Derrick Redd], the same year that I was being recruited, and this is his hometown. I just wanted to come pay homage to him.

PB: What did your grandfather mean to you?
DR: Everything. He was like my biggest fan. If we had an upcoming game, he would send me my scouting report on everybody — what I needed to do, what I needed to look out for and everything. He was pretty much my biggest fan.

PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at Morgan?
DR: In general, I guess the homecoming experience. The homecoming experience, it was just different being around a lot of my people, just around the culture. [In basketball], I would say the Nebraska game we had my first year here, that’s probably the best experience I’ve had. We were just neck-and-neck with a [Big Ten] school. It was just a good experience.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
DR: I’d say Elaija Demeza just because we came from Harford together, so we’ve been besties forever — about four years. … At Harford, she was my competition a little bit. That’s how I was looking at her. I didn’t really like her at first. We developed a friendship.

PB: Did coming to Morgan with Demeza make the transition easier?
DR: Definitely. I think it would have been a lot harder if I didn’t have somebody that I was close with. I didn’t have to be uncomfortable with a lot of things just because I had somebody that I was close with with me on the journey.

PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your college career?
DR: Honestly, I’ve always looked up to LeBron just because he was able to play the one through the five, so I always looked up to that. He was so versatile.

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
DR: It’s just to stay the course and not give up through the rough patches. Once you get out of the storm, you’re going to be good because you’ve already endured so much and you know what it’s like to be at the bottom, so when you get to the top it’s just going to be all worth it.

PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
DR: After I’m done playing, I know for a fact I want to be a coach. I don’t know what age group yet, but I know for a fact I just want to be a coach. I want to stay around the game forever, as long as I can.

PB: Is there a coach you’ve looked up to throughout your career?
DR: My high school coach [from Penn Wood High School in Pennsylvania]. Her name is Monique Boykins. She’s from the same place that I’m from. She played at Kutztown [University]. I think she played overseas as well. After all of that was said and done, she still came back and gave back to her community. She coached us, gave us a lot of wisdom. She’s a great mentor still to this day. We still have the same relationship, and I’ve been out of high school for almost six years. She’s definitely the one who helped me realize what I wanted to do, what my passion was.

PB: How has she helped you in life and in your basketball career?
DR: She just always made sure that I knew that my situation didn’t have to define me. She always just gave me a lot of words of wisdom. I don’t have to be what I’ve been around, what I’ve gone through. I can overcome all of that. She showed me that. She was like a walking example. She didn’t let her situation define her. She lost both her parents, her grandmom, and she still went on to be successful. She didn’t let anybody define her future for her, so I always looked up to that. I could just respect it more because I know that she actually lived it. It was just like, “I believe you. I’m going to listen to that because I believe you. I’ve seen that you’ve done it yourself.” She’s just the most positive person I know and she went through so much bad stuff.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Johnson

Issue 271: October/November 2021

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10