Ahniya Melton planned to visit Three Rivers College during her spring break. A global pandemic prevented that from happening. The 5-foot, 11-inch forward from Aurora, Illinois, also didn’t get a chance to meet coach Alex Wiggs. Instead, they video chatted over the phone. All Wiggs could do was send lots of info and photos of campus and the impressive new Libla Family Sports Complex. Melton reached out to current Lady Raider Jamiyah Thomas, who played travel ball under Melton’s high school coach.
Thomas said she loved being a Lady Raider, that family was a big deal at Three Rivers, coach Wiggs focused on player development, how good he was even as an assistant. “You could just feel that he knew our goals and that we wanted to go somewhere after that,” Melton said. “You can tell that basketball is big in that community.” Wiggs spoke with Melton’s parents, and her parents were comfortable sending her from the Chicago suburbs to Poplar Bluff.
With the pandemic, Melton had to rely on her gut, and her gut said to sign with the Lady Raiders. “Talking to coach Wiggs, and keeping in contact with him, it felt like the right fit,” Melton said. “You can tell he cares about us and just meeting over the phone, the things he would say, you can tell a lot about a person.” Melton averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds during her senior year for Waubonsie Valley High School.
She was a two-time team MVP, two-time All-Conference, two-time All-Area, and three-time All-Academic All-Conference selection. “Rebounding is definitely big for me. I like to rebound. That was a big thing for my team,” Melton said. “I play with a lot of energy, so I think that helps my team a lot to set the tempo for the team.” Wiggs added that he loves Melton’s versatility. “She can post up, put her back to the basket, she can step out, knock down the 3,” he said. “Very good basketball IQ in understanding the game. At 5-11, really excited about the mismatches that she’ll be able to create with her skills and with her ability.”
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic