The rise of Valerie Nainima in university level basketball in the United States of America has continued to win a lot of hearts.
One such person is USA-based Raitoni Radike, a proud Fijian who believes people like Nainima should be acknowledged for their hard work and for highlighting Fiji’s name in the international arena. “I write to let you, and hopefully Mother Fiji, know of the continued success of Valerie Nainima, who is now playing for the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), one of the elite conferences in America,” said Radike. “As people who know of her basketball career may know, she played two years at Long Island University, in New York, alongside another Fiji star Mikaelar Whippy before transferring to SC to play for well-accomplished 3-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner (Women’s Basketball) Dawn Staley, who I presume recruited Val to SC, away from LIU.” “Val, amazingly, is currently the third leading scorer in the SEC, averaging 17.8 points per game against players 8-12 inches taller than her! (She stands at 5’5”) She is also in the Top 5 in 3-point field goals made per game in the conference. Keep in mind that she has always done amazing things on the court at whatever level she competes in, Fiji Juniors, South Pacific Games, Atlantic 10 Conference, and now the SEC, a conference with rich history and tradition and the overall best competition in college athletics in America. The SEC is normally regarded as “the toughest conference in the nation to compete in night in and night out” no matter what sport you compete in.” Radike said Nainima stands testament that good things do come in small packages. “Val is continuing to prove critics wrong in that good things do come in small packages, the game of basketball is not all about height as much as heart, and that excellent athletes do hail from the South Pacific with their God-given natural abilities and passion--just look at Samoans in American Football or Pacific Islanders in Rugby.” “We all continue to pray for Val and wish her nothing but the best in her basketball and academic success. And who knows, she might become the first ever Fijian to play in the WNBA! (the American professional women’s basketball league). Whatever the future lies for Valerie Nainima, it is certain that Fiji is most definitely proud of her daughter.”