Scholar athlete: Good time management key to Kumi’s off-the-field success
NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School junior forward Akua Kumi scored a 26 on the ACT and, as of the end of the spring 2013 semester, had a 4.045 grade-point average.
How does she manage that while balancing basketball and other extra-curriculars like Key Club and Leadership Natchez? Time management, Kumi said.
“You have so much to do, so you have to be balanced,” Kumi said. “Junior year at Cathedral is the toughest year, and I’m taking honors and AP courses, so that adds to the stress.”
The way to overcome that is to stay ahead on all of her projects, Kumi explained, and don’t fall for the temptation of putting things off until later.
“I don’t wait until the last minute to do assignments, thanks to past experiences of having procrastinated,” Kumi said with a chuckle. “You learn from that and remember how tired you were the next day because you had to stay up, and I don’t want to repeat that.”
Any time Kumi has a break, she said she always makes sure to get some studying in.
“You can study between classes, and I usually do after school before practice starts,” she said. “You just squeeze it in with areas of down time.”
But when there’s a game on a school night, Kumi said she has no choice but to suck it up and sleep fewer hours.
“Those are the nights you have to stay up later or get up earlier and put time in studying,” Kumi said.
It’s a lot of work, but Kumi said she doesn’t have any regrets choosing to stay busy.
“It’s worth it,” Kumi said. “It’s only going to get harder in college, so you accept all the challenges and find a way to overcome them.”
Cathedral girls basketball coach Randy Smith said he’s enjoyed coaching Kumi, and her smarts allow her to know what to do on the court at all times.
“The other night, we were down two points with 30 seconds left, and she grabbed the ball before it went out of bounds and threw it to half court,” Smith said. “We were able to tie it, and she helped us win the game.”
Kumi said she’s been playing basketball since the third grade, and she also runs track and plays tennis in the spring. When it comes to basketball, Kumi said she enjoys the sport because it forces her to learn to work together with her teammates.
“You get a good workout, and you have to communicate between your teammates,” Kumi said. “There’s definitely a bond you get with your teammates that’s different than your friends.
“You do have your rough moments, especially when you have rough practices or the game doesn’t go the way you want it to. You just have to be able to communicate so you’re not mad at each other, but we all get along.”
Smith said Kumi is a tough competitor on the court.
“She’s very smart and a great team player,” Smith said. “She’s probably our leading rebounder and best defender. Because she does so good in school, she feels like she has to do good in sports. She’s an honor to coach.”
Kumi is the daughter of Kofi and Doris Kumi.