Muskegon lead point guard McKynna Sims finds inspiration to lead Big Reds

By Zachary Reichard

Watching Muskegon senior McKynna Sims on the court, Big Red fans might remember former Muskegon great Alyza Winston.

According to Sims, this is no accident.

Muskegon senior McKynna Sims. Photo/Jake Szetela

“His view of basketball influenced me so much,” Sims said of watching Winston during his Muskegon days. “I like to watch his movie from a few years ago and emulate his acting style. Having a role model like that really helps.

Using Winston as an example, Sims has taken on a leadership role this year for a Big Reds team looking to climb to the top of the OK Green conference and make a run in the state tournament.

Sims has had some big games so far for the Big Reds at the start of the season, scoring 18 points and six assists in a 48-47 win over Kalamazoo Central. She also scored 11 of her side’s 30 points in a loss to Kent City to start the year.

Muskegon coach Paris Thomas says The Sims have huge potential, and part of her drive to play her best basketball this season will be helping The Sims realize how good she can be.

“I don’t know if she realizes how good she is,” Thomas said, adding that the next step is to bring that consistency to every game. “Any night McKynna can have a really big impact on the game. Obviously she’s going to be key for us to win a lot of those games.

Beyond the stat sheet, Sims became a leader for Muskegon and earned the respect of her teammates.

Coach Muskegon Paris Thomas. Photo/Jake Szetela

“I definitely see her as a leader, (the team) sees her as a leader,” Thomas said. That it goes beyond the basketball court. “She’s a great kid off the pitch, she’s got a good spirit about her.”

Sims said she knows part of being a leader is leaning on her teammates and getting everyone on the same page.

“I always felt like a natural leader,” Sims said. “As the senior leader of the team, I have to hold my teammates accountable.”

Despite a 1-2 start, Sims and Thomas have high expectations for the team this year. There’s a lot of talent on the Big Reds roster, but they have to work in unison to be at their best.

“We know we’re very skilled individually, I don’t think we understand the skills we have as a team. Once we figure out how to sink it’s going to be so beautiful,” Sims said.

Thomas said it was the sportiest group she had in Muskegon. They’re still working on finding the right combination, but she’s confident they can pull it off.

“I have a lot of faith in my kids,” Thomas said. “We have to find our rhythm, and once we do it will be a scary sight.”

Sims hopes to have a successful senior year, but she also plans to continue playing next year in college. Sims received offers from Roosevelt University and Macomb Community College.

“It’s been so exciting. I’ve dreamed of playing at the next level since sixth grade,” Sims said. “It feels natural, like that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Sims said she doesn’t have a timeline for when she’ll decide where she’ll play next year, but instead hopes to let the process – and the season – play out and decide when she feels comfortable.

“She’s super excited to continue exploring her options and I think that’s what she’s going to do at this point. I think the offers she has are great for her,” Thomas said.

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