By Rachael Kuhn, '14
Lawrence Ridgell, a senior at Albion College, was welcomed back to the school's basketball team for the 2013-2014 season. He started the season off with a bang, scoring 17 points in the Briton's win over Manchester. He consistently produced throughout the season, finishing as the Britons' most valuable player and averaging a shade less than 12 points per game.
During his time away from the team he was able to remember why he loved the game so much. After all, basketball was the reason he had come to Albion and has been his passion since prepping at Inkster High School.
"As a freshman I was number 52 at the end of the bench," he said, recalling his humble beginning on the team as a first-year player. "After I came back to the team I was that freshman kid again for the first two weeks of practice."
The team was very supportive of Ridgell during his time away and was happy to welcome him back. His coaches took note of Ridgell's effort and dedication towards re-joining the team, and knew that giving him a second chance was going to benefit the team as much as it would him.
"He's a big reason why the team had such great success this season," said head coach Jody May.
Ridgell was quick to point out that motivation was his main reason for returning to the team. His love for the game, as well as his team, were also driving forces in his decision to not let a bump in the road take him away from his goals. He wanted to finish what he started and get back to the sport he loved, as well as re-connect with the reason he came to Albion.
"I know why I [re-joined the team] – I did it for my family, and for myself," said Ridgell. "I'm the only one doing something with college."
He recalls his time spent shooting hoops during his break as a time of reflection. He found that his time away from the team and the game itself gave him time to realize just how important basketball and Albion was to him. The process of re-integrating with the program was not a simple task.
"I had to work for my shoes,"Ridgell noted. "I have my priorities straight and it's clearly paying off. I started the first game and have been starting ever since".
May and assistant coach Michael Thomas were impressed with Lawrence's self-motivation and drive. They recalled Ridgell coming every week to their offices to check in and ask how the team was.
Once back on the team, his dedication for the team only grew. He was the first to arrive for practice and the last to leave. Off the court, he was the organizer of team functions, as well as being a vocal leader.
"If we can take Lawrence's passion for the program, harness it and share it with the other players we will have a great team and an even stronger program," May said.
Ridgell is weighing his opportunities for after graduation. A tour of Europe is among the possibilities.
"Having the opportunity to play against different teams and compete against different players would be a great experience," Ridgell said.