While most teenagers are preparing for life in high school or contemplating which major to study in college, Shamoya McKenzie had her future planned out.
The 13-year-old star on the Mount Vernon (N.Y.) junior varsity basketball team wanted to go to the University of Connecticut not just to play for the women’s basketball team, but to major in business. She then planned to play in the WNBA.
When members of the Mount Vernon community reached out to UConn in wake of McKenzie’s untimely death on New Year’s Eve, Lady Knights varsity head coach Ayo Hart said they were hoping for a letter from Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma to “bring solace” to McKenzie’s mother, Nadine.
The Huskies responded with much more.
UConn officially made Shamoya McKenzie an honorary member of the UConn women’s basketball program Friday, complete with a No. 30 jersey to match her number at Mount Vernon. A letter enclosed in a package ended with, “Once a Husky, Always a Husky.”
Affixed to the fuchsia-painted walls of McKenzie’s bedroom room, above her white headboard, is a poster of the current Huskies’ roster — a nightly reminder of what the 6-foot-2 standout was working for in her basketball career.