The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Women's Basketball team has had its fair share of great athletes over the years. Some have gone on to have some great careers but one recent Patriot has jumped on the opportunity to continue her basketball career right here in the state of Kentucky.
Jade Howard graduated from University of the Cumberlands in the spring of 2012. In her short time away from the floor for UC, Howard has been on the circuit looking for a way to continue her stellar career. Currently, Howard is a member of the Louisville Fillies, a semi-professional travel basketball team.
Howard said, "I had a chance to go to a couple good camps this summer in New Hampshire, Texas, and Las Vegas. I've always wanted to be a professional basketball player ever since I was young. I know that I took a little time off after last season because of my injury in the national tournament, but I feel back to100% again and hope to continue to improve."
On October 22nd, the Louisville Fillies came to Williamsburg to take on the Patriots in a pre-season scrimmage. The Patriots took on a team that had some familiar faces including Howard and others from throughout the Mid-South Conference including 2008-2009 Mid-South Conference Player of the Year Viktoria Krell. UC battled throughout the game and came back to defeat the Fillies by a score of 70-68.
When asked about coming back to play against her former teammates, Howard commented, "This was a fun experience with the girls. I was talking trash a little this week, but of course it was all in fun. I miss having Coach Irvin as a coach though. She always worked me to the limit and I appreciate every minute of it."
Coach Irvin commented, "I'd much rather have her on my team than to coach against her. She hurt us a lot early in the game. She's such a smart player because it's like having a coach out on the floor. Jade is doing a tremendous job for the Fillies and I think they are very lucky to have her."
Jade also takes to social media often to speak about her journey to the professional ranks. Irvin added, "She has all the skills that she can go on a play wherever she would like. Jade is possibly having a harder route to doing so because she chose to go to a smaller college. She's been in a couple drafts and been really close but she works out every day. If I see her tweeting something about being tired or not wanting to work out, I'll call her or send her a message to say ‘Yes you are working out today' because I know this is her dream. I'm just trying to support and encourage her. She knows that any support she needs, she has this team because Jade will always be a part of UC. My advice to her is just don't give up."
Looking forward to her budding professional career, Jade added, "I think my main thing is being a point guard, I have a pass first mentality. I do pass up on a lot of shots, but I will get back into form. I think playing for Coach Irvin gave me an advantage as a pro player. I hope that in a couple years I will still be playing pro ball somewhere, maybe even the WNBA."
For more information on the Louisville Fillies, check them out on Facebook at "Louisville Fillies" or follow them on Twitter at "@lvillefillies". For more information on the Patriots Women's Basketball program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com or follow UC on Twitter at "@UC_Patriots".