For Him

By Tommisha Lampkin

This series is brought to you by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

Basketball is more than just a sport.

It teaches you life.

I learned what it takes to be great from one of my first coaches, Coach Will.

Back then, I remember crying because, as the youngest on the team, I didn’t get a lot of playing time, and my mother suggested I talk to the coach.

I was just a kid, but there I was, advocating for myself and asking why I wasn’t playing.

Coach was honest and told me I wasn’t good enough.

As a kid, it was hard to hear, but he didn’t just put it bluntly.

He gave me the blueprint to be better.

After that, I started doing the same drills the bigger kids were doing and focused on improving on my own time.

In life, you get what you put in, and by the time I reached middle school, I had started showing promise.

I was going coast to coast, getting buckets, and making a name for myself.

It takes a village to pursue this path, but thanks to my mother’s encouragement, my coach’s honesty, and my hard work, I started reaching my potential — slowly but surely.

Kasen

When it became time to think about college, I initially wanted to leave home and learn how to be independent and see different parts of the country.

But then, my entire life and perspective changed when I gave birth to my son, Kasen.

He became my number one priority, and everything was centered around how I could raise him better.

Ever since he joined my life, I wanted to be his role model and provide him with the life he deserved.

UNT was close to home and just an hour away from my mom.

In order for me to continue focusing on basketball and school, it made the most sense to commit to a great program that was close to home.

And having my mom so close by has been an absolute blessing.

She helps me with watching Kasen while I’m in class or at practice.

And both Mom and Kasen are at every single home game, making it a true family affair.

Kasen is also joining me at a lot of the practices. Most importantly, he loves being around the team, and my teammates love being around him.

In fact, they often ask me where Kasen is if he does not show up. They want him there, and he wants to be there — in all honesty, I couldn’t ask for a better environment for him.

Seeing his face light up when he was surrounded by basketball, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Room for growth

At UNT, we are all about striving for greatness.

As a veteran on this team, and someone who had a bit of a breakout season last year, I take that responsibility head-on.

It starts with myself and then holding my teammates accountable so we respect the standards of this university and our own to reach our ultimate goal.

Coach Burton really started changing the culture when he got here.

He told me he knew I had more to give and would ensure I gave it. I bought in instantly, and together, I’m proud of what we’ve done and eager to see how far we can take it.

So far, we are off to a 9-1 start, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us this year.

As a senior, I understand time is running out and that there’s none to waste, but more than anything, I’m just embracing each day for what it is and putting my best foot forward for myself, my son, my mother, and my UNT family.

If I stay all-in and focused, there’s nothing I can’t do.

I used to be a five-year-old not getting playing time; now, I get to be one of the leaders on this amazing team.

So, let’s do this!

When I entered the transfer portal, I decided right then and there that whichever university took a chance on me was going to get everything I had. The days of doing the bare minimum were over, and wherever my journey took me, I was determined to give my best effort and make a significant impact on my team and university.