To kick off the Fall, we are continuing our Friday Feature’s. These Friday Features showcase some of the Class of 2019 committed players. Our goal with these is to give a glimpse into committed senior’s basketball journeys and their thinking throughout the college recruiting process to share with other aspiring college basketball players.
In this week’s Friday Feature, we interviewed Anna DeWolfe. She gives her perspective into her overall recruiting process with thoughtful responses and insight. We also got a chance to hear from her Maine Firecrackers coach, Don Briggs.
Enjoy this week’s Friday Feature with Fordham commit, Anna DeWolfe!
Anna DeWolfe, Class of 2019, 5’7, Pos: PG/G, Greely/Maine Firecrackers – COMMITTED TO: FORDHAM
When did you first start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball from the time I remember.
What was your overall recruiting process like and what were some of the schools that showed interest in you?
Overall, my recruiting process was quite hectic. For a long period of time, my weekends were filled by traveling to schools to visit and meet the coaches. My nights were filled with phone calls that would last for 5 minutes or even 30 minutes.
I had over 25 scholarship offers and some of the schools that showed interest were: Fordham, Villanova, George Mason, William and Mary, Northeastern, Florida International, Elon...
Did your family, friends, etc. play a role in your decision and how so?
After all, my family was a huge part in my decision. For those who know me, my family and I are extremely close and going to college with my brother was always one of my biggest dreams as a young kid. My brother is not only my sibling, but one of my best friends. Shane is a year older than me, so the timing of him to apply to college and me making my decision worked out perfectly. Shane had planned to apply to most of the schools that I had offers from. We searched for schools that were the better fit for both of us. In the end, we both felt at home at Fordham.
Tell us a little bit about your high school and AAU experience and how both played a role in your decision.
As an eighth grader, I was considering going to McAuley (MGA now) for high school, but realized being a part of the Greely community was something special to me. My dad, aunts and uncles grew up in Cumberland and all went to Greely. My aunt won states back to back in 1983 and 1984 and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. Like I said before, my brother and I are extremely close and being state champions with him was a dream come true. I wanted to replicate the family environment that I experienced at Greely, in college. And that’s why we both decided on Fordham.
Over my entire AAU career at The Maine Firecrackers, if I have taken away one thing I have learned it would be trust and love for your teammates is more important than being the better basketball player. The program really emphasizes family and team first. When I visited Fordham, I felt the same way when I met the team and the coaches. The team really made me feel at home and welcomed. The coach comes from a huge tight knit family and she really believes in a family environment.
In the end, why did you choose Fordham?
During the recruiting process, I visited over 25 schools and felt most at home at Fordham. During my first visit at Fordham, they set the bar extremely high and the following visits at other schools didn’t stand out like Fordham did. The academics that Fordham offers are excellent, the team was wonderful, the coaches were truthful and honest, and the school is located in the city where I will have many opportunities after I graduate.
What are you most looking forward to at Fordham?
One of the many things I’m looking forward to at Fordham is experiencing college with my brother. I’m also looking forward to having more freedom and being independent. Another thing I’m looking forward to is a new challenge and competing at a higher level. I’ve dreamt of being a Division I player for as long as I can remember and being just a year away is surreal.
What is your favorite memory playing basketball growing up?
One of my favorite memories that I’ll never forget was playing on the eighth grade boys basketball team. We played in one tournament in Brunswick, Maine. I remember specifically going on a fast break, doing a spin move on the kid in front of me and scoring a layup. The boys on my team were so excited they jumped onto the court and chanted. The kids I was playing with were so mad that I scored that none of them wanted to guard me.
Any advice for players who are looking to play at the next level? (About the recruiting process, on and off the court, etc.)
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I received from my coach, Don Briggs, was that attitude is everything. Having a positive attitude, no matter if you're having the game of your life or the worst game of your life can really show who you are as a person and an athlete. I know for a fact, college coaches look at attitudes on the court. If you miss a shot, don't hang your head, hustle back and make a defensive play. If you're traveling out of state to compete, have no regrets when you’re playing and make the most of every opportunity you’re given. Every game in front of a college coach is an opportunity to make a good impression. Another piece of advice is to always be thankful that you have the opportunity to play in front of college coaches.
How will your high school team be this upcoming season? What are your goals entering your final season?
In the upcoming season, I believe my team will be very successful. We graduated only three seniors last year and we are returning all five starters. We have two really strong basketball players who left to go to MGA (Maine Girls Academy – an all-girls school in Portland that just closed), who are now transferred back. As a Class A defending state champ, our program has a target on our back, where everyone wants to beat us. The upcoming season will be a challenge, but I believe in every one of my teammates. As every basketball gym rat, my goal is to win a state championship. I couldn’t think of a better way to go out than winning a back to back state title, just like my Aunt.
What are you most excited for in your senior year?
On top of being excited for the basketball season, I am extremely excited to have my former English teacher as my principal. He is huge on family atmosphere and he is going to make great changes at Greely. One of the biggest things he's emphasizing this year is building the culture within the school. He is making school a positive and safe environment to be in. Mr. Hoffman is more than just my teacher, he is someone I look up to.
Now hear from Maine Firecrackers Head Coach, Don Briggs, on what he had to say about Anna!
Where did you first see Anna play?
Anna joined our program as a 4th grader. We hold Sunday skills and drills throughout the winter for 4th thru 8th grade players. It was during these workouts that Anna first caught my eye. It is interesting to reflect back knowing what I know now and chuckle as her personality and love of the game hasn’t changed. She had a bounce in her step, a confidence, and an understanding of being a step ahead or vision of the game above her peer group. For all us “older” folks…she reminds me of Pete Maravich. She has always had a flare for the unexpected…but over time Anna would do things on the court and you would say “wow” but you were not surprised.
What have you enjoyed most about coaching Anna?
Anna started playing for me full-time as an 8th grader. As I stated above, she always had this uncanny 6th sense of seeing the game a step ahead of others. I remember those early practices/games and trying to get her to play our defense. It requires discipline, structure, and trust. Those early moments were tough on her…I was tough on her. But very quickly she understood what I needed her to do for the entire team to be successful. She had the ability to single-handedly impact games on defense. But, when she went “rogue” everyone else was out of position. Once we had an understanding and built trust that she played within the system, she “earned” the right to let her instincts take over. I think another point I would like to make is Anna had to learn how to lead a team. As a young player and demonstrating a strong skill set and ability to score in multiple ways…her biggest growth opportunity was allowing others to have success while controlling the game. If I reflect back over the last 4 years, her maturity and confidence as well as the trust she gained from her teammates is what I am most proud of. She had to allow herself to be coached and know that she can still excel and have success in a team environment.
Tell me a little bit more about Anna as a person off the court?
Anna is a goofball. She always has a smile on her face…she likes to have fun…doesn’t take anything off the court too serious. One of the things I have really enjoyed is getting a hug from Anna. You feel it in your soul…so much meaning and love in her heart. She cares about the game. She works hard in our practices and individually outside of our organized stuff and she loves her teammates.
What are you most excited about seeing Anna do at the next level?
Anna had a lot of options from a scholarship standpoint. Her and her family went on a lot of unofficial visits which allowed her to make the best choice for her. I think Fordham is getting a very dynamic player capable of playing the 1 or 2 and impacting the game on both ends of the floor. As I mentioned earlier, while her game translates very well to the D1 level her attitude and willingness to adjust for the greater good may be her biggest asset. There will be adjustments with the consistent size and length she will be playing against. However, I do feel the schedule we played and competition we faced has prepared her well…not only in identifying areas she needs to work on, but also, where she can have success. Her vision and creativity are going to have her Fordham teammates and coaches fired up.
Any other thoughts?
I have a lot of love in my heart for Anna DeWolfe. She has God given ability, but she never was satisfied. She wants to be the best in all aspects. As a coach, you love that attitude and work ethic. It becomes contagious and you pull others along with you. Anna has had that impact not only on her peers but a generation of kids playing in Maine. I have so many great memories of Anna…the success she had on the court, but also the struggles she had. We walked that path together the last 4 years – I would hope we both can say we are better people today because of that experience.