Mary Nyakundi is making a name for herself in Texas, USA. The 5’8 combo guard from Kenya features for Texas Wesleyan in Fort Worth, Texas. She is gifted in multiple ways, with her biggest strength being scoring. Her interest in sports started at an early age. Mary grew up in a house full of athletes. Her father, a former rugby player, her brother, a football player and her sister, who is also a college athlete, provided an environment where her talent was nurtured and flourished.
She first came into contact with the beautiful game of basketball in Middle school, where she played against boys in shooting games and gradually fell in love with basketball. She has never looked back. Her motivation comes from within. As a Christian she says,
“Christ motivates me to be a better person and I praise Him regardless of the circumstances. My family is also the reason why I push so hard to be a better player on and off the court.’’
In her school career, Mary has received a number of awards namely: District MVP, Newcomer of the year, District champion and Offensive player of the year. She also made it to the All-state team. Her goal is to win more and bring more wins.
Her love for Kenya is unmatched. Despite studying in the USA, most of her family members are in Kenya, and she follows the Kenya Lionesses keenly. Mary has high hopes of playing for her country someday.
“I watched the women’s national team play in the Afrobasket qualifiers versus Sudan. It was great to see good basketball springing up from my homeland. I wish to play for the national team. I was actually invited to tryout, but due to school, I was unable to attend.’’
She admits that being a student-athlete is a challenge as one has to battle fatigue and soreness and maintain good grades. Her goal of being the best basketball player she can be keeps her in check and encourages this young athlete to work even harder. Mary says her school, Texas Wesleyan, are rebuilding the program and she cannot wait to turn some heads and play her best game in the coming season.
Her advice to other girls with dreams of playing college basketball is,
“Work on yourself and get better everyday. A lot of what people post on social media is a highlight reel. What you don’t see is all the work that goes on behind the scenes. Stay humble, be coachable, and you will see success in the long run.’’
For those with dreams of playing basketball in America, she says that in the USA is tough. Growing up in the south specifically, competition was stiff. She competed with the best of the best which eventually made her a better basketball player.
“You have to put in the work everyday or people will surpass you. People are hungry to learn the game out here.”
As a young girl who is leading by example, Mary Nyakundi is gem worth watching. As she develops into a superstar all we can wish for is the opportunity to watch her basketball career flourish. She joins the list of Kenyans who are doing wonders on the court in America that is: Ruth Mbugua, Felmas Koranga and Grace Mbugua among others. As a country we wish to see her in our Lionesses squad, joining forces with her peers in representing the motherland.