Ricks named as WBCA NAIA Honorable Mention All-America

LaMyah Ricks was bordering on panic. She had just gotten a text message from her coach Ryan Showman saying he needed to see her post haste.

“He said he had some urgent news,” she said. “It kind of scared me a little bit so I rushed (to his office), like five minutes.”

Ricks had nothing to fear though. Showman’s ‘urgent news’ was good news. Fantastic news, in fact.

Ricks, Kansas Wesleyan’s irrepressible and multi-talented point guard, had just been named a WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association)/NAIA Honorable Mention All-American.

“I didn’t really expect it,” she said. “I don’t like to get my hopes up. I set goals for myself, of course, but I didn’t know that was something that was reachable and attainable for me, honestly. But I was really excited.”

Ricks was named All-KCAC Second Team last month after a superb senior season in which she averaged 11.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals in 29 games. She scored in double figures 17 times highlighted by a season-best 26 against Evangel on November 18 in Mabee Arena.

KWU finished 17-13 and tied Evangel for fourth in the KCAC standings at 14-8. The Coyotes lost to top-seeded Tabor in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

“It just shows that I’ve been working really hard for a reason and it’s clearly paying off,” Ricks said. “I’m not just working hard and not getting anywhere. I’m growing because this is a milestone I’ve never reached in my life.”

Showman was also thrilled with the selection.

“She’s a vocal leader, she stays connected with everybody on another level and then she goes and performs and she produces,” he said. “It’s such a deserving honor because of the person and player she is and what she’s done and meant for me and this program.”

Ricks was the undisputed team leader on the court, a trait she has worked hard to develop during her four years at KWU.

“I just kind of go into takeover mode when I have the ball,” she said. “I’m like ‘okay we need to do this or something’s not going to go right. If I don’t set up the offense it’s probably not going to be a very good possession.’

“It’s taken me a while to get to that position because I’ve always been more reserved. I don’t like conflict but just growing and knowing it’s better for my team if I do become a leader.”

Showman agrees.

“She needed to get out of her comfort zone,” he said. “I feel like through conversations and giving her opportunities to do that it allowed her to get that confidence.

“She’s a confidence player like a lot of our players on our team and when she’s high confidence she’s at another level and it’s the same with leadership. For her to be vocal and for her to push and challenge her teammates was really important.”

Ricks plans to return for a fifth season in 2024-25 and wants to achieve something special.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to make it to Hartman (Arena for the KCAC Tournament championship game),” she said. “It’s a really fun atmosphere. I think that’s a realistic goal.

“We were a fourth-place team this year. Getting all the way to first place is going to be a challenge but if everyone is willing to buy into the program and just trust Showman, trust each other, not play for ourselves but for each other I think we can make it to Hartman next year.”