Former Shepherd women’s basketball guard Morgan Arden, a senior in the 2017-2018 season, sat down with The Picket to discuss how she wants her coaches and teammates to remember her, what she wants to do after graduating from Shepherd, and how Shepherd University has prepared her to enter the professional world.
Arden has ambitions of playing basketball professionally somewhere around the globe. To help her reach this goal, Arden has taken part in scrimmages and practice drills with other women’s college basketball players around the country run by the International Basketball Association (FIBA) to see if teams from around the world are interested in signing her to a contract.
FIBA was founded in 1932 and connects 213 National Basketball Federations across the world. The organization organizes and runs the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the Olympic Basketball Tournament, and three-on-three basketball tournaments.
Going through the process of becoming a professional basketball player is new to Arden and her family.
“Yeah the whole process is actually something I’m obviously not familiar with at all,” Arden explained. “I haven’t been through it before, and it’s new to my family as well.”
A few weeks ago, Arden took part in a camp in Columbus, Ohio, where she and several other women’s college basketball players played two games against each other. Following the games, Arden and the rest of the players participated in shooting and agility drills.
Both the games and the drills were recorded by teams around the world in FIBA and are available online to them. They will examine the tapes and contact the players they are interested in to bring them in for a visit and to possibly join their team.
Arden commented that hiring an agent is an integral part of the process as well.
“Basically, you need to sign with an agent, and then they pretty much do the work for you,” Arden said.
In this past 2017-2018 season, her senior year, Arden did not only become the Rams’ all-time leading scorer, but also the Mountain East Conference’s all-time leading scorer as well with 1,995 career points. It is still hard for Arden to believe that she is the school and conference’s all-time leading scorer.
“It feels pretty cool, it’s hard to put into words,” Arden commented. “[It’s] Something that you dream about, something that you never think of being you, so it’s very exciting for me. Hard work pays off, so it’s something I’m really proud to hang my hat on.”
In terms of where her passion came for playing the game of basketball originated, Arden elaborated that it mostly derived from within herself.
“Well I started playing in [the] fifth grade, but it was something that I picked up on my own,” Arden said. “No one in my family played any sports, so it was something that I completely decided to do on my own. I just asked for a basketball hoop for my 10th birthday, [I] had that in the driveway, and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Arden took time to describe how Shepherd landed her as a recruit coming out of high school.
“Shepherd reached out to me,” Arden said. “I think it was probably around the end of my junior year [to the] beginning of my senior year of high school, somewhere around there. Actually, when coach Ford was still the coach here, and then coach West, who was here after her, continued the recruiting process with me.”
While being a student athlete and managing responsibilities on the court and in the classroom was not always easy, Arden relished the process and will miss her time at Shepherd.
“It’s pretty busy, especially in-season,” Arden said. “It helps me to manage time though I think because you have a certain amount of time to do all of the things you have to do, so you have to plan accordingly, but it’s very rewarding being able to be a student and be successful in that and then also be able to be part of a team. It’s just something to look forward to every day, and having that opportunity is something to really be thankful for and something very enjoyable.”
Arden added that she will miss numerous aspects about Shepherd University when she graduates.
“The environment, the people here,” Arden said. “Everyone’s so nice and respectful and [I’ve] created a lot of friendships, and I’ll miss everyone here. It’s just a good place all-around. The nature, going out to Harpers Ferry with my friends, and there’s so much here, memories, people, everything.”
The quality of Shepherd University’s kinesiology and anatomy classes has really appealed to Arden and helped prepare her to enter the professional workforce one day as a health promotion and exercise science major.
“I think that Shepherd has prepared me well. I’ve learned a lot in my classes,” Arden explained. “Something [that] I’ve been pretty passionate about, my major is health promotion and exercise science, so the kinesiology classes, the anatomy classes have all been really interesting to me and I think I’ve taken a lot out of them, so I’m excited to be able to apply that to the next thing going forward. I’m actually doing observation hours right now at Berkeley Medical [Center], so I’ve been able to see a lot there, and taking everything I’ve learned here and being able to apply it while I’m out there seeing all that is really cool.”
If there is one thing about Arden that she feels people may not know about her, it is that she is a very calm individual and likes to have fun off of the court.
“I think a lot of people watching me play probably think I’m pretty serious but I’m actually very laid back,” Arden explained. “I like to have a good time and have fun, so probably that, because everyone takes me so seriously on the court.”
Arden leaves Shepherd University not only as the school’s all-time leading scorer, but also ranks fourth in assists (393), second in made three-point field goals (152), and 11th in steals (165), showing the true, complete value that she brought to the Rams.
Information from Shepherd University’s Athletics and FIBA’s website was used in this article.
Anthony Bracken is the sports editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org