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'It was something I'll never forget; I'm so glad I have so many more'

My First Late Night, by S'Mya Nichols

3 min read
KU freshman S'Mya Nichols, the No. 21-ranked player in the 2023 class per, enjoyed her official introduction to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during Friday's Late Night in the Phog. [Chance Parker photo]

Kansas guard S’Mya Nichols has scored baskets all over the world, in games for her school, her AAU team and her country. On Friday night, at the annual Late Night in the Phog event, Nichols scored her first basket as a Jayhawk in front of a packed house of KU supporters.

There were plenty of emotions and moments that made Nichols’ night one to remember, and after the KU women scrimmaged, she talked with R1S1 Sports about the thoughts that went through her mind during her first career Late Night.

My First Late Night, by S'Mya Nichols

“I woke up and I was like, ‘It’s Late Night Day!’ I was so excited. I woke up like 2 hours before I had to go to class. I cleaned my room for my parents to come in. I went to tutoring. I had a recruit lunch that was just awesome. The day was a vibe. It was a perfect vibe.”

“I got Starbucks today. That’s how you know it’s a good day, when you get Starbucks.”

“I was feeling really anxious because I was a recruit here and I came to the past four or five Late Nights and I just remember seeing the crowd and the scrimmage and how happy everyone was and I just kept thinking, ‘If I air ball a shot and I hear air ball the whole time, I’m gonna be so embarrassed.’ Fortunately, there were no air balls.”

“I was just excited for the experience with my team and the locker room vibes and how we were all listening to music and curing everyone’s anxiety. Many Tik Tok videos going on. Everyone was just excited.

“It was something I’ll never forget. I’m so glad I have so many more.”

At that point, Kansas women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider was on the stage, talking to the Late Night crowd about his team and the season ahead.

In addition to singing the praises of fifth-year seniors Holly Kersgieter, Zakiyah Franklin and Taiyanna Jackson for their loyalty, talent and love of KU, Schneider noted that he was excited about the freshman class KU brought in, too.

“One of them happens to be the highest-rated recruit we’ve signed to this program in more than 20 years,” he said, referencing S’Mya.

The crowd roared. All while she was in the locker room waiting to go out for introductions.

“We couldn’t hear him, but we could hear the crowd. We were all like, ‘Oh my God.’”

“It felt great. They were so loud. They were loud for everyone, but I really felt it for me and, honestly, I’m just grateful for it.”

During the individual introductions on stage, S’Mya, as a freshman, was one of the first Jayhawks introduced.

“I stepped a little early. I was supposed to wait like 5 seconds I think and I went at like 4. But, I was like, ‘OK, get me off this stage. All I do is smile.”

On the court, during the 10-minute scrimmage with her team, S’Mya made her first basket in front of an Allen Fieldhouse crowd.

“Was it the pull-up? I shot two of them and missed the second. I think I was just thinking, ‘Hey, I made it.’”

“It was really comfortable, honestly. You just have to use your personality, show your personality, be excited, be enthusiastic. I feel like that’s your time to show people who you are.”

“It has begun and I’m so excited.”

KU freshman S'Mya Nichols at Allen Fieldhouse. [Chance Parker photo]

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