WEST DES MOINES, Iowa- It was a party-like atmosphere at the Nana and Jamie Gyamfi house on Wednesday night. Friends and family were gathering to make the drive to the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Dallas.
“So we have snacks, so we’re going to start the coffee early,” said Jamie. “We’re already kind of jockeying for position who’s going to be driving who has to take the early morning shift.”
The family hopes to get to Dallas in time for a meeting where they can visit with their daughter Jada, who is a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes Women’s Basketball Team.
“We both went to the Big 10 tournament in Minneapolis and it’s a business trip,” said Jamie. “You know you see a lot on social media they’re dancing, but it’s a business trip and they have them in meetings and they have in a film and they have practice.”
Jada was the star, go-to player for Johnston in her senior year. The team went undefeated, and won a state Championship. Jada’s first year at Iowa was tougher than expected. She suffered a concussion at one of the early fall practices. She missed classes and practices. When she returned to the team, she promptly rolled her ankle causing her to miss even more time.
It was because of this injury set back, and being new to the team, that Jada discovered what the word “team” was all about.
“The folks around her, the coaches, they all picked her up all supported her they were there for her, with her and gave her a ride, or you know cheer up for whatever the case may be,” said Jamie. “I think that really stuck with her in terms of wanting to reciprocate.”
As a first year player, she knew the team would not center on her play, the way Johnston team members looked to her to score.
“When she got to Iowa to play, they had five starters that have been there for years,” said Jamie. “They didn’t need her to be the go-to person, but they needed her to be willing to learn and listen. She learned a lot about Caitlin‘s vision, and how she sees the court, and how she tells other players, on what she sees. Jada just talks a lot about how she’s learned so much from so many of the players, McKenna, Monica, and Gabby.”
Going back to Jada’s childhood, as the youngest of four kids, she learned early how to be tough.
“First of all she got beat up all the time by all of her siblings, picked on tortured, I would say,” said Jamie. Her brother Chancellor, would have her on his team, and run a play called “Iso,” meaning he would take the ball and not pass it to her. She always wanted the ball.”
Her family is confident she will use her skills in the future. She likes to drive to the basket or shoot the three depending on what the defense looks like.
“A little bit of everything, whatever they need,” said Nana.
For this family they will enjoy this trip, they’ve rented a VRBO “spring break” style house, so they are looking forward to their time in Dallas.