DeJah Joshua's journey to the University of Houston began when the first person told her that she couldn't achieve a goal.
"I just wanted to start a new beginning and I wanted to show that there's more than life in Gary," the West Side basketball guard said. "You can achieve anything you want to achieve.
"I love basketball and you hear people say a lot of stuff, like you can't do this, or you can't do that, so I wanted to do it not only for myself, but my family and fellow teammates. We can do anything."
A year ago, she wasn't on the University of Houston's radar anywhere.
"She was just a gym rat," West Side coach Rod Fisher said. "She wasn't close to a Division-I player at this time last year, but after the season was over she was in the gym all the time. She went to practice, then on to AAU and everyday she was in the gym. Basketball is her love."
Joshua averaged 10 points with eight rebounds per game last season for the Cougars.
She said after the year of work and dedication, she saw her first D-I letter come from Toledo. Before choosing Houston, she'd narrowed her choices to three, including the University of Chicago and Indiana State.
Joshua started her high school career at Bowman, then transferred to West Side before the start of last season.
"This year she has taken over the team," Fisher said. "She wanted to be a leader last year, but at the same time didn't feel as comfortable with a new team, even though they accepted her. She is the vocal leader of this team, they love her, respect her and they see what she's done for herself."