By Steven Eggert
Last week, the Rider women’s basketball Twitter account tweeted, “Mac is a pro,” followed by, “Historic day for Rider Women’s Basketball. MyNeshia McKenzie has just officially signed a professional contract.”
After four years of being one of the Broncs’ top scorers, senior guard McKenzie has decided to try for a professional career by signing with Spain’s 4 Players Sports Agency.
As a result of signing the contract, she will be able to explore professional basketball opportunities internationally. It’s a one-year deal under her agent, Alicia Lopez, who was a former Spanish pro basketball player.
Of the agencies that were scouting her in both the United States and in other countries, McKenzie felt comfortable with Lopez and 4 Players Sports. With this deal, she’ll be able to find the pro team that’s right for her.
“I love my agent,” McKenzie said. “I’ve been talking with her since the beginning of the whole process. She’ll be there for me at any time and she’s just finding me a job. Through her connections from talking with her, getting a job wouldn’t be a problem.”
The last Rider women’s basketball player to graduate and play professionally was Amanda Sepulveda, ’09, who went on to play in Puerto Rico with Balancesto Superior Nacional Femenino. However, McKenzie concluded her Rider career with 482 more points, while being the all-time rebounds leader with 1,143. She also averaged 19.5 points per game, and 11.1 rebounds per game in her senior year.
Head Coach Lynn Milligan believes McKenzie’s performance helped attract numerous scouts.
“MyNeshia got some looks this year simply based on her numbers,” Milligan said. “She was basically a 20-point and 10-rebound kid. That opens a lot of eyes, and most agents had never even seen her play. So we’ve got to put a highlight package together so that this agency can use it.”
Those stats also led to an invite-only opportunity at the ProHoops Combine in Nashville, Tenn. It was one of the first places McKenzie was asked to showcase her abilities following the season. There, she was put to the test against some of the best women’s collegiate players the nation had to offer.
“I was playing with girls from Kentucky, Ole Miss and Louisville,” McKenzie said. “One of the girls got drafted the other day. You just had these high-quality major teams. It was invite only, there were 25 agents, 11 of the 12 WNBA teams and their coaches were there. So it was big.”
After that, McKenzie made her decision to be a part of another team once she leaves Rider. The scouting process is similar to college recruitment, so there is a lot of Rider pride with McKenzie deciding to play professionally.
“It’s something she worked really hard for,” Milligan said. “She’s in a situation now where she can continue her career and represent Rider and herself anywhere she can end up. We hope it lasts a long time.”