As the UTD men’s and women’s basketball teams reach the midpoint of their seasons, rising athletes emerge for each team. Women’s basketball freshman Amanda Crowninshield and men’s basketball sophomore Rob Wade have both been instrumental to their respective team’s successes this year and promise a bright future for their programs.
Women’s basketball coach Joe Shotland said the whole team embodies the “rising star” mentality. Sitting at 9-6 on the season, it’s clear that many young players are paving a path of dominance for the women’s team, but none have been more impactful than freshman guard Crowninshield. Playing alongside players like Trystan Clark, an ASC first-team all-defensive player last season, Crowninshield has been able to develop her skills against the highest level of competition during practice. These rigorous practices have developed into an incredible first season for Crowninshield with 6.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game coming off the bench.
“One of the advantages of coming off the bench is you’re not going in blind,” Crowninshield said. “I’m coming off and I can see what’s going to work and I can see if I’m going to make an impact … whatever role I need to fill, whether that’s facilitating more or scoring or being a defensive pest, I’m just coming off the bench ready to be there … I think I’ve already found my role on the team, and I’m just going to continue to fill that.”
With Jordan Maxwell, the team’s starting point guard, graduating in the spring, Crowninshield is in line to step into a larger role by next season. As one of the best defenders in the ASC, Maxwell leaves behind a considerable legacy, but Crowninshield has made it clear that she won’t shy away from the challenge. While Crowninshield continues to impress for the UTD women’s team, sophomore forward Wade has been an equally impressive asset for the men’s team. UTD men’s basketball coach Terence Butterfield insists Wade has established himself as a team-first player despite not playing much as a freshman. This attitude has allowed Wade to make a serious impact this season despite playing primarily off the bench, helping the men’s team secure a 12-3 record. With an average of 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.2 blocks per game, Wade leads all bench players in rebounds and blocks while also being second on the team in bench points.
“I play really hard and that’s the reason I’m on the court,” Wade said. “I’m always going to crash the board and try to get rebounds and be physical and not back down from anybody and I think that’s something the team needs. It’s really not what I’m used to doing from high school ball and from my first year, but I just kind of picked up that mentality this year to be a dog … whatever the team needs is what I’m gonna do.”
With both Crowninshield and Wade playing well this season, their days on the bench are numbered, as both hope to claim a role in the starting rotation next season. In the meantime, both players’ excellent campaigns have helped push the UTD basketball teams to success, and at the midseason mark, both teams hope their stars can keep up their high level of play as the postseason draws near and as expectations continue to grow.
“I think we’re a championship level team. We’ve proved it,” Wade said.