Yishica Sims’ freshman season at Broward College was full of surprises — and not all of them were happy.
A 5-11 sophomore wing from Jackson, Ga., Sims led Broward with averages of 16 points and 12 rebounds through 12 games last season.
“I shocked myself,” said Sims, who added that she played basketball just for fun while in high school in Jackson (Ga.) High. “I didn’t think I was going to get a starting job as a freshman.
“All the players in college were older than me and smarter basketball-wise.”
Sims almost never made it to college. She didn’t have any offers until University of Miami guard Krystal Saunders recommended her to Broward coach Kevin Johnson. Saunders had played with Sims as a Jackson sophomore before transferring to South Broward High, where she met Johnson.
Sims accepted Johnson’s tryout invitation, and she was an immediate hit.
But Sims, who had never traveled outside of Georgia before high school, quickly became homesick. She missed her parents and her eight siblings.
Sims’ grades suffered, and things only got worse when she went home on Christmas break to discover that her mother’s living situation was in flux, making it difficult for her mother to care for her 18-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy.
Sims said she “flunked out” and missed the rest of the basketball season while she stayed in Jackson trying to help her family.
“Her grades were a reflection of what happened back home,” Johnson said. “But she made herself eligible over the summer. She now understands what she needs to do. She goes hard every day in practice. She’s in the library studying, even on Sundays, and we’ve made her a team captain this year.”
Sims, who said her Broward teammates encouraged her to return with repeated phone calls, is feeling better these days about her family’s situation, which has improved.
Sims, a prolific three-point shooter who is striving to add more of a drive game, said she is being recruited by FAMU, South Alabama, Nova Southeastern, Clayton State and Augusta State.
“My biggest goal is just to graduate from Broward,” she said. “I don’t want a repeat of last year.
“Ultimately, my biggest goal is to play pro ball overseas so I can help my family.”