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Player Profile: Kim Nezianya-Social butterfly is a beast on the court

Senior Kim Nezianya is 6 feet tall, but has very small feet. She is a starting forward and captain for the women’s basketball team and is also the leading scorer.

She is heavily involved on campus as a member of the African-American Student Union, The African Student Cultural Organization, the Pre- Pharmacy Society and a member of the Krimson Kourt, an affiliate of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

“I’m kind of all over the place,” Nezianya said. “I’m a little social butterfly.”

While she may be a butterfly off the court, Nezianya is a beast on the court. Her 15.1 points a game are four points higher than her season average last year and rank second in the Summit League. Her 6.7 rebounds a game rank 5th in the league and her 47 percent field goal percentage is also in the top 5.

“Last year, we had Dayon [Hall- Jones, last season’s leading scorer] so I just kind of just fed off of her,” Nezianya said. “But with her gone and some of the other players that we lost, I’ve had to come into more of a scoring role. It’s not that I’m doing anything differently than last year, it was just natural.”

With a strong start to her senior season so far, Nezianya seems to fit well into new Head Coach Marsha Frese’s system.

“She’s really different,” Nezianya said of Frese. “Our coach from last year [Candace Whitaker]was really intense and all over the place. It’s two completely different coaching styles. Coach Frese is a lot more mellow, understanding and compassionate. She really wants to know us on an individual and personal basis, which helps us trust her more.”

Kim isn’t the only Nezianya with athletic chops. Her younger sister, Alexis, plays basketball and has an offer to play volleyball at Duke.

Also in the family, Ben Nezianya runs track at Louisiana State University and Gloria Nezianya runs track at Southern University.

“We are a pretty athletic family,” Kim Nezianya said. “Our parents really like sports, so we’ve always been instilled [with competitiveness] since we were little.”

That competitive nature has served her well on and off the court.

She made the Summit League Winter/Spring Academic All- League Team her first three years at UMKC.

Her freshman year, she received the Jim and Sally Job Award, given annually to a promising student athlete.

Her sophomore and junior years, she made the Summit League’s Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence and is on pace to repeat that in her final season.

“I am really interested in the medical field,” said Nezianya, a chemistry major. “My mom is a nurse, and she made me volunteer since I was like 14. I always wanted to do something in the medical field, and chemistry and math were always just something I was good at.”

Nezianya’s passion for the medical profession developed when she visited hospitals with her mother.

“I really love being around people, and I’ve always been around hospitals,” she said. “And I love the joy you get when you see someone get better. Seeing the patient’s progress is one of the greatest experiences ever. I always knew I was going to end up there, whether as a doctor, a pharmacist or a nurse.”

trushing@unews.com

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