Kenyan basketball player in Texas eyes WNBA
Zippy Khasoa prides herself on being a fast learner — which is a good thing, because she’s finding that around every turn is something new and exciting for the transplant from Kenya.
“When I came here there were so many things different, the roads are wider here, and the weather is way too hot,” she said. “When I drive, I feel like I’m driving on the wrong side of the road in America.”
She’s not, of course, and neither is she doing much else wrong, as she is fitting in nicely with coach Bob McKinley’s Lady Coyotes. Zippy is averaging 10.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
“She can play, but she’s also just a good person to have around,” said McKinley. “It’s fascinating to hear her tell stories of her homeland.”
Khasoa is from Nairobi and the Luhya Tribe. She has eight brothers and an older sister. Zippy first came to America for a 76ers camp in Philadelphia in July and August. Come September, she made her way to Texas and discovered a whole new way of looking at life.
“When I came to Texas it was incredibly hot, but I was following my dreams,” she said.
To make things even more interesting, she was roomed with “a rodeo girl,” as Zippy described her.
The WC freshman had never been to a rodeo, until that meeting led to one.
“My roommate took me to one and I liked it,” Zippy said. “I knew when I was coming here that everybody was country. I thought I was prepared for what I’d see, but in Philadelphia I didn’t see too many cowboys.
“But I really like it here, the people, the cowboys and cowgirls.”
Zippy was a volleyball player and gymnast for most of her formative years in Kenya. But folks kept encouraging her to try basketball because of her height (6 feet 6 inches).
So in 2010, she gave in to their requests.
“I liked [basketball] right away. Now it’s all I want to do,” she said. “Immediately after I started playing basketball, I decided I wanted to come to America.”
While she’s still getting used to America – and Texas – at least the language wasn’t a barrier, she said.
“In Kenya we studied seven subjects, and six were in English,” Khasoa said. “Only the accent is different.”
Like most college basketball players, she stays in touch with her family mostly through Facebook, Skype, and of course, good old cell phones and emails. She calls once or twice a week.
“Someday I’d like to go back to Kenya because my family’s there, but I’ve got a lot to do here in America first,” she said. “I like the people here. You can adjust easily here.”
She would love to play in the WNBA.
“I’d like to be the next Brittney Griner (former Baylor star and all-time women’s scoring leader),” Zippy said with a smile.
The Lady Coyote player would like to coach youngsters after her basketball days are over, particularly others like her in Kenya who have big dreams.
“They have to believe in themselves and believe everything will be fine,” she said. “They have to know they must work hard.
“And they must know, as I do, that someone believes in them.”