- Spring Valley Center for Exploration
2021 Graduates: Morasha Wiggins Going from Giant to Tar Heel
Maybe it’s just the difference between great athletes and the rest of us, but Morasha Wiggins says that she finds big basketball games help her relieve stress.
That’s right. Having to make that free throw, shooting when the timer is running out, fending off other players — not a problem.
“Playing basketball is just a good way for me to get away from the world for a little bit,” said Wiggins, 18.
It’s not that she’s not thinking about her game or that she is not playing it well. She’s playing it exceedingly well. So well, that she was recruited by basketball powerhouse University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she hopes to study architecture or sports medicine. So well, that she was a finalist for Miss Basketball this spring. So well that she was the Division 1 Co-Player of The Year and made the All State Basketball First Team this spring.
Wiggins, who is the daughter of Roshonda and Harold Wiggins Sr., moved to Kalamazoo in the seventh grade, when her mother took a job as a counselor at Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts.
She can’t remember when she started playing, but with older brothers it seems like basketball has always been a part of her life and she grew up loving the sport. It helped her transition into KPS as a middle schooler.
“The people here were really generous, plus I played basketball and I ended up fitting in really well,” she said. “I remember my first middle school game. There was a little crowd and there was a crazy energy in the building. I went to Lakeshore before, which was a really small school. We didn’t see much of that in middle school.”
After Maple, she moved on to Kalamazoo Central where she also played volleyball, was on the Link Crew service team, served on the Student Advisory Council, and was a member of the National Honor Society. She also played travel basketball with Michigan Crossover.
“The best part of high school was meeting new people, just that whole high school experience,” Wiggins said. “The worst part was the COVID year and not being able to experience my senior year.”
Her teachers and coaches were key to making high school a positive experience. Kalamazoo Central has some “amazing teachers,” and among her favorites were: Shannon Wintz, honors English; Dr. Chartanay Bonner, honors chemistry; Samir Sandu, world history; Josh Gottlieb, physics; and Julie Marcikic, biology.
Her high school coaches included Jason Plunkett, Nelly Smith, Aaron Sauter and one particularly special coach — her brother Harold Wiggins Jr.
“My brother really pushed me to be a better player. I’m so grateful that he came,” she said. “His expectations for me were a lot higher than for anyone else. Even when I was doing good, he wanted me to do better.”’
She thanked her teammates and her parents for being at every game and seeing her through a torn ACL during her junior year.
“They’ve been supportive all four years. They’ve been a blessing.”
Wiggins said she “plays a little bit of everything”: point guard, shooting guard, forward. She anticipates UNC using her as a shooting guard or wing. But, she doesn’t think it’s necessarily that versatility that makes her a good basketball player.
“I’d probably say my work ethic. I work really, really hard to get where I am. It makes me a good basketball player overall. I would also say my mindset sets me apart. I’m really, really calm when I’m playing basketball. I have a really level head, which separates me from a lot of players.”