FORT WAYNE – Offseason work included the usual things for Snider junior Deja Wimby, shooting, dribbling and weightlifting. And she added one more thing – leadership training.
One thing we worked on was her leadership because it is time for her to step up, Snider coach Kelley Meiklejohn said.
The All-SAC first team point guard had the luxury in her first two seasons of counting on others to point the way. Wimby must now take on added responsibilities, especially with the addition of a talented freshman class.
I want to lead my team and show them how hard I can work and how hard I want them to work, Wimby said. Now it’s my turn to step up and show how great of a leader I can be. It is natural because my travel team looked up to me a lot. I am usually comfortable in the leadership role, but it will be something for me to get freshmen to step up and be where they should be. We have freshmen coming in who are going to play, and I will need them to step up and be as aggressive as they can be and show me what they can do.
Wimby knows what it is like to come in as a freshman and play right away, and she will lean on that experience to help the freshmen.
It was definitely tough when I first started playing because I felt like, Oh I wasn’t good enough to play varsity now,’ but everybody was expecting so much out of me now that I needed to show them how good I could be, Wimby said. I always worked hard and showed them why I should be playing. Now with these freshmen coming in, they need to show us what they can do and why they should be on varsity.
The 5-foot-8 Wimby led the SAC runner-up Panthers (20-4 last year) in assists with 3.3 and steals with 4.7 per game. She also averaged 14.1 points, second on the team.
Wimby, who took over as the team’s point guard duties halfway through her freshman season, will be expected to score more this season.
I do like (Wimby at the point) but if someone could fill that role, and we could move her to the (shooting guard) every once in a while so she can get more shooting options off because now everybody is looking at her to put them on her back because she knows how to score, Meiklejohn said. We are working on her finishing a little bit more and stepping her range out. Everyone knows she can attack, and her defense has been top-notch for quite a while. But in order to get more prospects looking at her, she needs to open up her offensive game a little more.
While team comes first for Wimby, her individual exposure is also important. She wants to impress college coaches and fulfill her goal of playing at the next level.
She’s finally realizing she has to get a core group of colleges that she wants to go visit and talk to, Meiklejohn said. And kind of narrow it down, but also keep it open just to see who wants to talk to her. She now has to focus on her goals and what she wants to do after high school. This is when they do the recruiting. This is the last year. After that, they either know they want you or they don’t. It’s a go hard or go home kind of thing for Deja. If she wants it, she can get it. If she doesn’t, she won’t. It’s that simple.
Wimby is well aware of the importance of getting noticed this season.
It’s probably one of the biggest years I will have because I am starting to talk to a lot of colleges now, Wimby said. So hopefully, we will have that winning season to get us on the market so they will want to come and watch us play.