Coming out of high school without a basketball scholarship, Cade Crosland knew he would have to hustle if he ever wanted to play at the college level. Hustle he did.
Crosland, a sophomore communications major who joined Tech’s team as a walk-on, finally earned full-ride scholarship last month.
Tech coach Steve Payne said he told Crosland the news one day before practice after finalizing some details.
“We just felt like it was the right thing to do going forward,” Payne said. “It’s not a gift, it was very much a reward that he’s earned and one he’s going to have to continue to earn each day.”
Crosland grew up in Sparta, playing high school basketball at White County High School where he helped the Warriors win regional and district titles. He also set a school record for most 3-point shots.
He spent his first year of college playing for Chattanooga State Community College. He transferred to Tech, paying his own way through school while playing as a Golden Eagle.
Payne praised Crosland’s contributions to the team, especially his shooting ability.
“When he got here, it was apparent that he could do at least one thing at a really high Division I level, and that’s shooting the basketball,” the coach said.
Payne lauded Crosland’s selfless playing style and his ability to hustle after the ball.
“He makes a play that wins games about every game,” Payne said.
The coach recalled a win on the road at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville when the game was not going well for the Golden Eagles.
“He beats a guy to a loose ball. He ran 20 feet and that guy ran 10, he beats him to the loose ball, and we end up getting fouled and scoring two points late,” Payne recalled.
Crosland said he had another reason for being excited about the scholarship.
“It was an amazing feeling. The team’s reaction is really what made it for me, they were excited for me, and to see my teammates excited for me was a really awesome feeling,” Crosland said.
He said he couldn’t wait to tell his mother about earning the scholarship.
“I took my mom out to eat and told her then. She was so happy for me, I mean it’s a great accomplishment, it’s what you dream about and ask God for when you’re a little kid,” Crosland said. “I was so thankful, first for getting the opportunity to walk on, and then the opportunity to get a scholarship.”
Crosland averages 10.1 minutes per game and 2.7 points per game. He scored a career-high 12 points against Maryland-Eastern Shore, helping the Golden Eagles claim the Emerald Coast Classic title on Nov. 15.
Tech plays its final two regular season games at home against Tennessee State on Thursday, Feb. 22 and against Jacksonville State on Saturday, Feb. 24 before heading to the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.