Former UConn and Connecticut Sun standout Nykesha Sales gave all she could in her career. Now the Bloomfield native is giving back.
“I don’t miss playing the game,” she said. “But I miss being around the sport.”
On Sunday at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Fairfield, Sales talked to, answered questions from and worked out the Connecticut Basketball Club AAU girls team.
Players like Amity’s Elise Graham, Greenwich’s Abbie Wolf, Hamden Hall’s Joycelyn Dos Santos and Rye Country Day’s Tara Berger listened as Sales talked about the highs and lows of her career, including her struggles with nutrition and conditioning in college. She said coach Geno Auriemma had her working out at 6 a.m., her freshman year because she was out of shape.
She also talked about becoming the all-time leading scorer in UConn women’s basketball history, she is now third with 2,178, 137 points, playing in the WNBA and overseas. Berger said she was inspired.
“You have to take no days off,” she said.” Just keep fighting.”
Trumbull standout Amanda Pfohl got to experience just how hard a pro works, as Sales ran Pfohl through her workout. Sales said she got the workout from NBA friends Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter.
Sales pointed to parts of the court as Pfohl sprinted over to them, catching passes and hoisting up jumpers. After the 30-minute workout, a gassed Pfohl walked over to her teammates grinning as she reached out for high fives.
“I want to play at a higher level than high school so to work out with arguably one the greatest players ever was so cool,” she said “I loved it.”
And it was made possible by coach Scott Nails. Nails, who also coaches Foran, has forged a relationship with the Connecticut Sun and coach Anne Donovan.
“We’re just trying to promote women’s basketball in the state,” he said.
Sales posed for pictures with the players and handed out t-shirts after the talk and workout. She said she’s enjoying life after basketball and ready for whatever the future holds.
“Its always great to come out, answer questions and tell my experience,” she said. “Because that’s what they strive for, they want to follow in your footsteps.”