Jan 23, 2013
With Grace Wade, the filing cabinet in Jeff Speedy’s mind never closed. And, now, one of the most exciting and innovative players to come out of New Brunswick in ages will be staying put in the province.
Wade, the outstanding point guard from Moncton’s Bernice McNaughton High School, will study kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick, beginning next fall, and suiting up for the Varsity Reds women’s basketball team.
“It’s no joke at all when I tell people I saw Grace when she was in Grade 7 or 8 and since that day, I wanted her to become a member of the Varsity Reds,” said Speedy, announcing Wade’s arrival for next season. “I saw a spark in her eyes and in her game that are still there now. Grace is a fierce competitor. We’re thrilled she has chosen our program over numerous other options.”
Wade has been a staple of Bernice McNaughton’s programs since entering the high school and has continued to improve and excel at levels outside the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association.
She earned a taste of what will become her new home at the Basketball Canada national age class championship last summer at UNB’s Richard Currie Center, where she was named a tournament all-star for her work with Team New Brunswick.
“It’s not every day a CIS program successfully recruits one of those 10 tournament all-stars because that event is littered with outstanding players who are recruited all over North America,” Speedy said. “Grace is going to have an immediate impact on our program. She’s a complete player who does everything well and on top of that, she is a fantastic person. I’m very excited to have her commit to our Varsity Reds program and can’t wait to coach her for the next five years.”
Wade has a lot of work to do with her high school squad this year.
She wants to be with her teammates at the NBIAA championship to cap her stellar interscholastic career, but there’s also the future - a future at UNB that isn’t very far away..
“The most exciting aspect of joining the V-Reds is being able to compete at the CIS level,” Wade said. “I’ve enjoyed watching UNB for the past few years and I know that level of play is exciting basketball. I can’t wait to become a part of the competitive atmosphere. I play an up tempo and aggressive style so I hope UNB women’s basketball fans will enjoy my style.”
The chance to stay in New Brunswick was a bonus for Wade, but there were a number of options. In the end, familiarity with the campus, with the courts and with the coaching staff made the decision much easier.
Not to mention, the heart plays a role in decisions, too.
“I wanted to become a V-Red largely in part because of the relationship I have with Coach Speedy and his staff,” she said. “I have a huge amount of respect for them. I knew it would be a mistake to pass up on the chance to learn from all of that experience. UNB was where my heart was from the start and it's where I know I will be happiest.”