– ahead of departure for Caribbean Championships
By Edison Jefford
Former Loyola University Greyhounds female basketball star, Miriam McKenzie, who made her debut
for Guyana back in 2007 at aged 16, has returned eight years later to boost the chances of a national female team that will need her experience and skill.
McKenzie arrived in Guyana yesterday ahead of the national team’s departure to Tortola, British Virgin Islands on Saturday for the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships. It was with a sense of responsibility she spoke with Kaieteur Sport.
“I just want to help in anyway I can and play some ball. The team is definitely a work in progress and still under development. Hopefully, I am a catalyst for winning. Hopefully I can transform to winning some games and influence that winning attitude,” she said.
“I don’t just want to win for myself; I want to win for the whole team,” McKenzie added. She is of the view that the team needs all the help that they can get, which is the kind of support that the top teams have to translate into winning Championships.
The top American ball-handler, who is eligible to play for Guyana through her Guyanese mother, said that when she last came for the national team, she was still in High School and what she saw from the team then inspired her to return to make a difference.
“When I last came, I was just 16, the team was not developed yet, but hopefully now we do well in this tournament to create some press (media attention), which usually can translate to revenue for the team,” she said. McKenzie said she is eager to play ball.
She left Loyola after finishing her bachelor’s degree programme in 2011/2012 season. McKenzie was eligible for the 2012 WNBA Draft, but went undrafted. However, the elite athlete spent most of the 2012/2013 season playing professionally for Peka in Finland.
The point guard informed that she has been accepted into a graduate school programme, but she has not yet decided on the offer. She stated that basketball is still deep in her, and at aged 24, she believes she has a lot more to offer the sport.
“I am still at that elite level. I just thought that I was unfortunate with the manner in which those coaches dealt with me in my career. It was all politics, but you can expect a lot from me, I will be leaving it all out on the court. I’m here to play ball,” she noted.
Asked what positions she see as critical to the team’s success, McKenzie indicated that she wants an inside presence on offence and defence, especially for rebounding the ball. The guard believes that a reliable parameter player is also valid. “It is important that everyone chips in,” she said.
As a Senior at Loyola University, McKenzie became the second player in Greyhound history to be named to the All-MAAC First Team in three-straight seasons; she finished her career ranked fourth with 1,398 career points and seventh with 722 career rebounds.
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