When the Grand Rapids Galaxy open the 2018 Women's Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) season there will be a new voice in charge of the sidelines. Nikki Thompkins, a 1990 graduate of Creston High School in Grand Rapids, will take over the reigns as head coach.
When asked about the future of the Galaxy, Thompkins hopes to 'build on the success of our inaugural season last year. We have revamped the staff but still bring a winning attitude to the new season. We look forward to a new style of play, increased sponsorship, great attendance and more community involvement.'
New GM/VP of Operations for the team, Darnell Hollis, made the move official today, announcing it on social media. Hollis, also a Creston HS graduate, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Galaxy.
'I loved playing for Creston High School. I'm a proud Polar Bear!!'
Thompkins starred for the Polar Bears before heading off to Central Michigan University (1991-1994). She ranks 12th on the Chippewa's all-time scoring list with 1,258 points, averaging 12.0 points per game. The Galaxy will surely be practicing their shooting and rebounding early and often this season. Thompkins still ranks at the top of the list on CMU's field-goal percentage rankings at 54.3% for her career. She holds the 10th place spot for rebounds at 780, or 7.4 boards per game.
Thompkins played alongside Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame recent inductee, Carla Sterk, during her time at CMU.
She then spent eight years as a professional player in Israel, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey. After her experiences working out with WNBA teams and training with UTS Sports Training, her passion for the game shows she is ready to lead the team to a successful season.
During last year's City League Pride Weekend, an event put together by former Union High School All-Stater Michael 'Pops' Sims (Marquette University), Thompkins led the Polar Bears squad to a tourney championship and was named MVP. When asked about the weekend, Thompkins showed her inner spirit and competitiveness, 'That was awesome. It was great to represent my school and win. Bragging rights!!! I loved being the only female and dominating the guys! haha'
Hollis knew he wanted Thompkins to coach this team from the very start. 'I wanted Nikki to be the coach when I was offered the job. My number one goal was to bring a coach that has passion and love for this game. When you want a team to win and have the passion it starts with the coach. I couldn't think of a better person than Nikki,' Hollis told us in an interview. 'I watched her in practice last year and listened to her talk about the game. I new she could lead a team and help develop a team to continue their career of playing professional basketball. Not to mention both of us being Polar Bears (Creston High School) helped a lot.'
The Galaxy are in good hands on the floor and in the office. Maybe a WBCBL championship isn't so far, far away after all.
Beer City Hoops
Now that the 2017 season is officially over, we look back at our debut season with pride. With it being our organization's first season, we were highly nervous about how the season would go and how our season would end. With a strong roster and amazing coaching staff, we were able to reach as high as being ranked #2 in the nation, with an overall record of 11-2. We were 7-2 against teams within our region, after losing a tough game in the Northeast regional tournament.
During the season, we worked with several community partners and partook in several events, in which, we were able to display successful women athletes and positive female role models. In addition, we also raised money for non-profit groups and partnered with a few Pro feeder teams to the NBA, WNBA and MLB.
Another highlight for us was officially sending our first player pro and overseas. Our Center, April Watson, will be playing for the TGN Basquet in Tarragona, Spain starting October 1st. We are very excited for her and we look forward to her return next season.
As we prepare for our 2018 season, we look to build off of and improve our program for a more successful year. Tryouts will be announced soon.
Mr. William Kelly,
Grand Rapids Galaxy, Owner & GM