By Sydnei Caldwell, as told to Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop on Instagram and Twitter
When I was 9 years old, I talked to my parents about playing basketball in between track season. I tried it out and fell in love with the game. I come from a sports family. My mom ran track at the University of Tennessee and my dad played football at Middle Tennessee and went on to play in the NFL.
For the past couple of years of high school I played at Gil St. Bernards. I really felt like I grew as a player on and off the court. Whenever I’m out the game, I’m still locked in. Taking that time when I'm out the game to see it in a different light. I always looked to find gaps in the defense so that when I go back in I can contribute.
A big moment for me in regards to my recruitment was when I came back from my shoulder injury my sophomore year. I was a bit nervous when I came back. I was worried that I wouldn’t be the same player, but then I got back on the floor and I was at ease. All the hard work in rehab paid off. I knew once I got back out there in the mix that I could do it again.
I play AAU basketball for the New Jersey Sparks. When I moved here around the time I was going to be a freshman I heard about the program. I heard a lot of good things and they all were true. They welcomed me into the family with open arms. The coaches care about you on and off the court. It’s more than you putting the ball in the basket. They care about you as a person.
Playing on the EYBL Circuit is amazing. The competition you will see there is top notch. Every game you play against the top prospects in the nation. There are no easy games. You have to being your “A” game every time out. It really helps you to develop. The Sparks did a great job preparing us for that by creating a very intense practice environment.
I kept my recruiting process very low key. I wanted to keep things tight and within my family. I visited a bunch of schools and soaked in a lot during every visit. I loved all the schools as they all had something new and different at each school.
I decided to commit to Arizona State. I was looking for a school that I could call my home for the next four years. I used to live in Arizona for two years when I was younger. I have known the coaches for a long time. When they reached out, I knew it was the right place for me. I love their style of play as well. It was a great fit across the board. I know they will prepare me on the basketball court and for life after the game
I want to say thanks to god and my family for supporting me throughout this process.
Go Sun Devils,