For most college students who play basketball, the sport helps them earn scholarships, be part of a team, or simply have fun, but for Ace Carradine it’s even more than that—it’s her dream.
“Honestly, I’m young,” said Carradine. “I’m 21 years old. I’m the best I’ve ever been. I feel like it’s always been my dream to try to play professional basketball, so there’s no time like the present.”
“I don’t have any responsibilities,” she continued. “I’m done with school, about to get my degree, so it’s now or never. I’m going to go to law school, but I want to give myself maybe two years to try to do this [and] see if it happens. If not, then it wasn’t meant to be, but I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.”
Carradine is a senior majoring in history with a minor in pre-law who intends to go to law school once her basketball career is over—whenever that may be.
Recently, she went to a combine in New Orleans where she had the opportunity to show off her skills, gain more exposure, and prove that she can play basketball professionally.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever played that much basketball in three days,” she said. “You’re on the court nonstop for hours and hours. Basketball is the focus when you’re down there. That’s all I was doing, just playing with a bunch of people, having people watch us … They’re critiquing us, taking notes the whole time. Everything’s videotaped so it’s a pretty intense process, but I loved it.”
“It was a good weekend. I learned a lot about myself, my game, [and] what I need to do to get better at in order to have a good chance to be where I want to be next year,” said Carradine.
After the intense weekend, she’s unsure what will come from it, but she was able to gain exposure so agents and scouts would have something to look at beyond her college stats.
“My number was 81 when I was down there. The scouts go through and pick out all my best stuff from that weekend. People can then go to a website, look at players, watch our videos, look at our profiles, look at our stats, look at our evaluation scores, and try [to] make contacts with us to fit their team, or if they’re an agent they could possibly help us find a team. That’s the purpose. It’s more exposure for you outside [of] what you’ve done in college.”
Carradine is a strong, dedicated player, who has been playing since she was 10 years old. More than anything, she simply loves the game.
“Honestly, I’m kind of, well, I don’t want to be conceited or anything, [but] I’m pretty athletic naturally. I’m athletic, even my build. I’m just an athlete. So I’ve played probably every sport known to man and I picked them all up fairly easily.”
“Basketball is the only one that ever really challenged me. And I feel like that’s why I’ve always loved it—because I’m the type of person who is always trying to take the hardest route.”
She continued, “When you’re in high school, you know you’ll be all right if you’re really athletic, but eventually you’re going to have to start building a skill set and learning how to do things—especially if you’re short like I am. If I was tall it would be different, but I’m short so I need to know how to dribble well, how to shoot from the outside, things like that. I really just love the challenge. I’m all about making myself better.”
Playing basketball for the Lions has been especially worthwhile because of her teammates.
“All the time that we’ve spent together … Those are people that I know, no matter what happens, I can count on them and that they’re going to have my back. I just love them all to death.”
And if playing with the Lions is where basketball stops for Carradine, she’ll move on to her next dream of attending law school
“My ultimate goal is to be a judge,” she said,” That’s what I’m going to be when I get old and gray.”
Through it all, Carradine is simply grateful she had the opportunity to play at ENC and to improve herself as a person and as a player.
“Here [at ENC] I’ve started every game since I was a freshman. I had an immediate impact; I was able to come in and play significant minutes. I just thought, for me, I’m not going to get better sitting on the bench like [I would] at a bigger school. I thank God for the opportunity and I just appreciate the fact that I was able to play,” concluded Carradine.