By: Dylan Tehada
As the collegiate basketball season looms near, three-time State Champion, Mari Somvichian, is getting ready for her first season with the Women's Basketball Team at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Somvichian and the Lions begin their season on November 6, where they will be taking on UNLV in their first preseason game of the season. As her new journey at LMU begins, Somvichian looks to make her presence felt and continue to spread her love and passion for the game of basketball.
Somvichian has been playing basketball since second grade, and her love for the game has grown immensely since then. As her dedication grew at a young age, she began training with Coach Packie Turner in fourth grade to elevate her game. After years of training, she began to play basketball more competitively at the AAU level for West Coast Elite and in high school at Oakland Tech where she started all four years.
During her time in high school, Somvichian led her team to three state championships and an undefeated playoff record. In addition to her individual success during her time in high school, Somvichian is most proud of her team’s effort and the adversity they overcame collectively.
“I’m extremely proud of all three of those championships. Each one of them had their own story and is special in their own way,” Somvichian said. “I would say what makes me the proudest is that my team was able to be so successful when there was so much stacked against us.”
Somvichian’s individual and team success in high school opened the door for her to eventually play collegiately and continue growing her game. During her senior year in high school, she committed to Loyola Marymount University to continue her basketball career. While being recruited by LMU she felt supported and welcomed with open arms by the coaching staff since day one. She knew that through the guidance of Coach Aarika Hughes and the rest of the staff that she could continue to elevate her game and fine tune her skill set in hopes of continuing to build her basketball resume.
As the upcoming season approaches, Somvichian reflected on her first offseason with the team and how far she’s come since joining the Lions in the summer. Transitioning to a new team with new plays and a new coaching staff is no easy task, but Somvichian has embraced the challenge and trusted her skillset to adjust to the learning curve. Through the support of her teammates and coaches, Somvichian feels confident going into the season and seeks to continue learning and growing as a new member of the LMU Lions squad.
While being in a new environment is indeed a challenge, Somvichian feels confident in her abilities and talent that she learned from training with Coach Packie and at Unlimited Potential Basketball. While training one’s skills in basketball is important to growing their game, Somvichian credits UPB and Coach Packie for taking that a step further and also guiding her in training the mind.
“Obviously, [Coach Packie] has helped my skill set. But he has helped my confidence and the way I approach the game too,” Somvichian said. “I would say one of the biggest things is he always challenged me to compete against older and better players and that really helped not only my game but allowed me to grow my mindset as well.”
At UPB, we preach and help athletes realize that their potential is unlimited. Whether it be training their basketball skillset or the mindset of how to approach the adversity the game presents, we strive to help athletes grow on and off the court. Somvichian shared her insight about reaching her potential and offered her biggest piece of advice on how to elevate one’s game.
“My biggest piece of advice would be to be consistent with your work. If you’re consistent you’ll end up falling in love with working out every day and that’s when you’ll be able to really enjoy the process,” Somvichian said.
Julius Randle has been the epitome of constant growth and improvement season after season since his debut in 2014. After an impressive 2022-2023 season with the Knicks averaging 25.1 points per game on 46% shooting, Randle seeks to continue building on last season’s success and contributing to a winning franchise. Although the start of the Knicks’ season has not gone exactly to plan, Randle has showcased his veteran poise and innate ability to continue elevating his game as the long NBA season treads on.