Kiki Rice ’22 and Tamika Dudley Win the 2022 Naismith High School Girls Coach and Player of the Year

Kiki Rice ’22 and Tamika Dudley Win the 2022 Naismith High School Girls Coach and Player of the Year
Kiki Rice ’22 and Tamika Dudley Win the 2022 Naismith High School Girls Coach and Player of the Year

The Sidwell Friends girls’ basketball team, Head Coach Tamika Dudley, and point guard Kiki Rice ’22 have been recognized with so many accolades that it’s hard to link to them all in one opening paragraph. Now, as the end of their season approaches, Dudley and Rice each have one more: the prestigious 2022 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Girls Coach of the Year and High School Girls Player of the Year, respectively. It’s the first time a coach and a player from the same school have achieved the honor in the same year.

“This award is a huge accomplishment for any high school coach,” Dudley says. “I’m always extremely grateful and blessed to be nominated and recognized not only for my accomplishments, but for those of the other coaches on staff and the team.”

Named for the inventor of the game, the Naismith award is considered among the highest—if not the highest—award in high school and college basketball. Previous award winners include A’ja Wilson, who plays for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces; Megan Walker, who plays for the Atlanta Dream; and many women who are currently at the top of women’s college basketball. The list of coaches who have won represent a who’s who of the top high school basketball coaches in the country.

“My teammates and my coaches played a huge role in me getting this award,” Rice says. “It’s an individual award, but someone who isn’t on a great team and who isn’t being pushed every day is not going to win this award.”

The girls’ team has had a sudden, roaring success—despite the loss of an entire season due to the pandemic—and Dudley and Rice both had major roles in building the nationally ranked program.

“They are the two people most responsible for the meteoric rise of our girls’ basketball program, so it’s neat to see them recognized with Naismith awards at the same time,” says Keith Levinthal, David P. Pearson ’52 Director of Athletics. “These awards are extraordinarily special, and they could not have chosen two more deserving people.”

There isn’t much time for Dudley, Rice, or the rest of the team to sit back and enjoy the awards. Their season isn’t over yet, and the scoreboard of the next game doesn’t care how many awards you have, how many points you scored, or what the rank next to your name is.

“One of the things I always say is: ‘Play like you’re not number one,’” Dudley said. “‘Play like you’re trying to earn that spot.’”

Given the culture of hard work, team spirit, and striving for excellence that the team has embodied so far, the 18 girls on the team will spend the rest of their season playing not like they already are the best, but striving to earn that top spot.

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