Coffey in LA: another part of the journey

Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images Nia Coffey

Hopkins High School grad and St. Paul native Nia Coffey joins her brother Amir in Los Angeles, albeit in separate organizations. Nia, a fifth-year WNBA veteran, signed earlier this month with the LA Sparks as a free agent. Amir currently is in the LA Clippers organization as a two-way player.

We covered both of them in college—Nia at Northwestern where she was an all-Big Ten performer, and Amir at Minnesota—as well their father, Richard Coffey, when he played on Clem Haskins’ Gopher teams and later in the NBA. They became the first-ever father-daughter-son trio covered in our career.

Along with sister Sydney, who also starred in college and now plays overseas, Nia proudly noted, “My dad sowed in us at a young age that basketball is the way to go. All three of us got scholarships and to go to the pro level.”

Nia Coffey recently spoke to reporters, including the MSR, as the Sparks announced her signing. She was the fifth overall pick by San Antonio in the 2017 WNBA Draft. After a year there, then the next in Vegas where the team relocated, the 6’-1” guard-forward was traded to Atlanta, then again swapped to Phoenix, where she played last season.

This is her first free agency experience. “It was an exciting opportunity to get to play for this team,” Coffey declared. “We have a great group of vets.”

She further pointed out, “With only 12 teams and 12 spots on a team, there are very few open spots. There’s been peaks and valleys, and you just have to understand and [be] patient enough to know the valleys don’t last long and just keep working your way up.”

Coffey said her versatility has kept her in the WNBA thus far.

“The WNBA is one of the hardest [pro] leagues,” she stressed. “I definitely learned early on in the W that it is important to find your way, your niche, your opportunity, your team. It can be difficult for some players. I try to stay more focused on what I can do…to get better and grow, and add to a team.

“[Going to LA] is just another part of the journey itself,” said Coffey.

Nia concluded, “I think I just have to show my versatility on both sides of the ball…having a team-first mentality and understanding that my priority and my goal is to add to the team, however I can.”

Bits and pieces

Patrick Ewing became the first to win a Big East tournament title both as a player (Georgetown) and as HC (also at Georgetown).

“They had us ranked last,” said Ewing in his post-game comments. He told reporters, including the MSR, “I’m here where a lot of people didn’t think I have the ability [to coach] and I’m proving everyone wrong.

“I worked at this craft 15 years in the NBA [as an assistant coach] and was given the opportunity here at Georgetown,” noted Ewing. “Everyone has done their part to get to this point.”

The Hoyas won the conference automatic NCAA bid.

About Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at challman@spokesman-recorder.com

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