Some people have their lives planned out from an early age. They are the kind of people who can tell you exactly just where they will be in five years.
Tajama Abraham is not one of those people.
Five years ago, Abraham was graduating GW after a distinguished career in women’s basketball. She set school records for most points in a season (675), most points in a career (2134), most blocks in a season (326) and highest career scoring average (16.4). Five years ago, she was headed to the WNBA.
On Sunday, Abraham returned to GW as a visitor in her first year as an assistant coach at Richmond. After two years in the WNBA, where she average 3.5 points and 1.9 rebounds a game for the Detroit Shock, Abraham served last season as an administrative assistant for the GW women’s basketball team. This year she provides low-post guidance under Richmond head coach Bob Foley.
Speaking on Saturday from the Smith Center, Abraham laughed at the oddity of being with a visiting team in the Smith Center.
“I’ve never even seen the visiting locker room,” she said. “I’m interested to see what it looks like, but it’s going to be a weird feeling. I got chills just walking into the gym today.”
Even with the emotions, Abraham knows she must concentrate on the game.
“I have to stay focused on what I’m here to do,” she said. “Even though it’s my alma mater, I have to stay focused and make sure I give the best to my team.”
On the other bench will be GW’s top post player, sophomore Ugo Oha. Abraham sees quite a resemblance in her.
“It’s absolutely eye-watering at times, how much she reminds me of myself,” she said. “It’s not just her basketball moves, but that she is a really nice kid; and that’s what people said about me.”
Oha and Abraham still keep in touch after developing a close mentor-student relationship last season. She also stays in contact with GW head coach Joe McKeown.
“He’s my dad away from home,” she said. “He’s always looking out for me and making sure everything is OK.”
McKeown had similar feelings toward his former star.
“It’s a hard thing, she’s been like a daughter for almost 10 years. She’s one of those people you just love being around and it’s hard seeing her on the other side of the bench,” McKeown said.
Abraham comes from a basketball family. Her father played at St. John’s University and tried enticing Tajama at nine to start playing. But the little girl born in the Virgin Islands resisted, until five years later, when she moved to Virginia.
At that point, she had no clue she would become good enough to play in college. But five years later, she was the A-10 Rookie of the Year and on her way to becoming GW’s greatest female basketball player.
Nothing in Abraham’s life has been planned, except for a schedule that brought the Spiders to the Smith Center. And it still isn’t.
“I don’t know where the road will take me,” she said. “Five years ago I wouldn’t have said I would be coaching. I just think I’ve been blessed and pulled in the right direction with my life and where I am with basketball.”
Abraham’s return did not yeild a victory for her new team, she watchd the Spider’s eight point lead dissapear in the last minute of the game.