By ANJEL GORDON, NEWS3 Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) – “My father played a huge influence in the reason why I play basketball,” Jada Thorpe, Western Illinois University student, said.
Thorpe is a first-year transfer student that is a starter with the WIU Women’s Basketball team. In her senior year of high school, tragedy struck her family which affected her path to playing in college.
“Ever since I was born, my father was my coach. He passed in my senior year of high school. So that was very devastating for me and my family,” Thorpe said. “For a while, I really considered quitting basketball. It just didn’t feel the same without him there but I really want to make him proud in some way. I know he didn’t want to see me quit especially like how hard I worked so anything about him is just great.”
After an injury, while attending Kansas City University. She decided to make the move to WIU to be near her family for a stronger support system. After contacting Head Women’s Basketball Coach JD Gravina, she was all set to come to Macomb and join the WIU team.
“It’s definitely an adjustment to JD. I think he is a great coach, he just lets us play, play through our mistakes and I think he gives everybody that freedom to feel confident to shoot the ball,” Thorpe said. “Adjusting to the teammates, they were very welcoming, very nice, generous people. So I will say it wasn’t an adjustment at all like the environment was just very welcoming.”
After feeling at home, Thorpe has succeeded quickly, even earning a nomination for sophomore player of the year with the Summit League.
“It’s a blessing, I owe it all to GOD truly, I never ever knew it was a thing. Seeing those honors it’s just crazy. Every time I see it, I get this feeling in my chest like I thank GOD for it,” Thorpe said. “Thank my family for always pushing me and supporting me through things like my injury, my downfalls, and everything so it really is a blessing to even see that to get any type of honors is a blessing for me just to consider the couple of years I’ve been through so it really is a blessing.”
You can see Thorpe play with her team during the Summit League against South Dakota On March 5, go to thesummitleague.org/WBBmarch2thesummit.