Photo by Timothy Ramsey
BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY
The Lady Warcats will kick off their basketball season in about a month’s time. As a way to give back to the community, they donated tickets to the UniverSoul Circus to students of Ashley Academy last week.
Regina Strickland, director of Marketing and Advertising for the Lady Warcats, said she connected with Jernetta Johnson, who works at Ashley Academy, at church and they discussed ways the Lady Warcats could volunteer at the school by reading and visiting with the kids.
About a month later, Strickland came back to Johnson with the idea of the circus and the plan blossomed from there. The kids who won the tickets were raffle winners from the school and ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade.
Johnson was accompanied by Jenaya Abernathy and Lindsay Lee, two players from the Lady Warcats team. They spoke to the children about the team and gave them advice about how to be a successful student.
“This was great and I was glad to be able to come out and talk with them,” Lee said. “I just wanted to let them know that when you have goals education is very important. It’s all about the kids because you have to reach them while they are young.”
Abernathy added, “it was a blessing for me because it actually made me feel like a kid again. It’s like I went back in time so to speak and I got a chance to see what I look like in their eyes by just giving back and being genuine with them. Just to be able to give them words of wisdom that I wish I could have gotten from older people when I was their age made this all worth it.”
Scarlet Linville Ashley Academy Principal, said she was really happy for the Lady Warcats to come in and speak to the children. She says many have never been to the circus so this is a life changing experience for them.
“We are really excited when the community comes in and shows the kids options with their education,” Linville continued. “This is a great reinforcement of positive behavior because we are focusing on that here. I like the fact they shared their personal stories about hard work and commitment because that’s what it takes.”
Strickland was happy to begin a relationship between Ashley and the Lady Warcats. She says this is the beginning of many more visits from the team.
“When we first thought of the idea I was of course excited because we want to make sure we stay connected with the community,” added Strickland. “We just wanted to take it to another level and we will come and do things with the kids on an academic level however to make this really exciting we decided to bless the kids with a trip to the circus.”
In the future, the Lady Warcats plan to come back to Ashley and read to the kids and other classroom
The Long Island Wave Organization has hand selected Kia Wright (5'8''-G-86, college: St.John's) as Associate Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel for the first year WBCBL team. Head Coach George Hampton said "there was no coaching search conducted for the position I knew exactly the person I wanted next to me in the war room directing player personnel decisions and on the side lines. I greatly appreciate President of Basketball Operations Ashley Gladden and General Manager Angela Jones trusting me to make this decision. Kia Wright is a quality coach and outstanding person who will help us build this team the right way. Her ability to develop young point guards will be a major factor for the organization. At the end of this inaugural season Kia will take over the head coaching position with complete control to institute her own blueprint on coaching the Long Island Wave. I have 22 years of coaching experience in women's basketball and Kia Wright is a true champion, under Coach Wright's leadership the Wave is looking forward to a bright and successful future with the ability to compete at a high level and win WBCBL Championships,"said Coach Hampton.
Wright was born and raised in Copiague, N.Y.. At the age of seven, Kia Wright was the first girl to play and win championships in an all boys youth league in Copiague N.Y.. Kia's championships ways continued from there, she played AAU with the Long Island Wave and they were the first New York State AAU team to win a national championship. Wright also helped lead Copiague High School to its first Long Island championship in 2002 and its first NY State Championship in 2003. Wright finished her high school career scoring 2,148 points and a four time All-Long Island Selection.
Coach Wright signed a full scholarship out of high school with the University of Connecticut in 2003 "for me that says it's all about Kia Wright's leadership abilities, basketball skills, and knowledge of the game- the point guard position for women's basketball at the University of Connecticut is one of the top jobs in all of college sports," said Coach Hampton. Coach Wright transferred to St Johns University before the season started at UConn and from there she embarked on a stellar career. She led St.John's to its first NCAA tournament in 17 years. She was a four time All Big-East Selection, she's listed in the top 10 out of 11 statistical categories, and she is the only player in school history to finish with 1,500 points and over 400 assists. Because of these accomplishments Wright was inducted into St. John's University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
Kia's professional accomplishments include WNBA's NY Liberty training camp (2008), Puerto Rico (2009) and Croatia in (2011). After suffering a torn Achilles in 2012, just three days before a WNBA Free Agent Camp, Coach Wright turned her sights on training and coaching. In 2013, she was the Basketball League Director and Basketball Program Coordinator at Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC. She then began her collegiate coaching career at Adelphi University in 2014, where she helped lead the program to its first conference title in school history.
In Kia Wright's Words: "It is truly an honor to be an associate head coach with the Long Island Wave. The Wave created lasting memories in my childhood and I'm looking forward to beginning this new journey with the WBCBL"
San Diego’s newest professional sports team is the San Diego Sprint of the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League, WBCBL, America’s foremost professional development league for women's professional basketball, with over 45 teams nationwide. The Western Division also includes teams in Anaheim, Oakland, Las Vegas and Tucson with regular season games running from early May to mid-July, when playoffs start.
Sprint founders include Tyrone Shelley, Head Coach who also plays professional basketball for the San Diego Surf and Ross Kurland, General Manager, also owns the San Diego Surf of the ABA. Shelley has had a well know basketball career at San Diego Christian and Crawford high schools, San Diego State University and as an All American at both D-1 colleges; Pepperdine University and Georgetown College in Kentucky. Kurland has owned small businesses in San Diego for over 40 years.
The goal of the Sprint team is to provide entertaining professional women’s basketball for the San Diego community while providing a platform for aspiring young female athletes to continue their basketball careers overseas or in the WNBA. Contact the Sprint at: Admin@SanDiegoSprint.com
San Diego Sprint GM