Pryncess Tate is back on track.
Back on track on the basketball court, but more importantly, back on track academically. The 5-9 guard from Suitland, Md., on the Old Dominion roster from 2008-10 as Pryncess Tate-Dublin, is majoring in manufacturing engineering at Virginia State. She has a summer internship with Metro in Washington, D.C. With a year and a half of eligibility remaining, Tate is set to graduate in spring 2015. She hopes to work in a car dealership.
What a road it has been after a difficult start in Norfolk all those years ago. Tate, a National Honor Society member at Potomac High in Oxen Hill, Md., was used to scoring double digits, averaging 26.4 ppg and 11 rpg her senior year . But at ODU, the coaches looked to redshirt her until injuries during the 2008-09 season altered that decision. With most of the season 2008-09 gone, Tate came off her redshirt, seeing her first action in a game Jan. 29, 2009, a loss at Georgia State.
"Back home I was one of the best players in the area; I had all these schools looking at me," she says. "I wasn't used to not playing. That messed me up. I was young. It was tough for me to handle me not playing. Jackie (Cook) will tell you and Mairi (Buchan) will tell you; they were my roommates. I was crying all the time. It affected my grades more than anything."
Her playing time didn't increase markedly in her sophomore year, and her lack of focus continued to affect her grades. Released from ODU, Tate-Dublin got in touch with Billi Godsey, an assistant then with UMBC, a school that initially recruited Tate.
"She set up a whole plan for me to attend a community college so I could attend UMBC in the fall," Tate says.
Tate enrolled in Prince George's Community College and worked toward an associate degree. But Godsey left UMBC for an assistant's position at Virginia Tech; Tate-Dublin completed her associate in 2011, but was not accepted at UMBC and feels the program lost interest. She felt directionless herself.
"I didn't know what to do then," she says. "It was like, 'What am I doing? What did I do wrong?' "
Tate got a job at Macy's where she worked for a year but realized school remained her best option. A friend suggested Virginia State. After talking with coach James Hill Jr., she accepted a full scholarship there last fall and embarked on an engineering major.
|A perfect score on an exam!|
"I decided on engineering when my car (a 1997 Nissan Ultima) started having problems," she says with
a laugh. "I always had tried to find new ways to make something better. I'm learning basically how to do everything with manufacturing -- mechanical, electrical. It's really cool."
Her grades are great these days; she is set to take 16 hours this fall at Virginia State. Being back on the court also agrees with her. Tate played in 10 games last year, averaging 4.6 points and shooting .417 from the field. Virginia State fell to Virginia Union in the CIAA Tournament final.
"It felt so good to be back out there," she says. "It was still an adjustment, not playing in two years. I'm good now. I love it."
As for ODU, Tate has no bitterness.
"I still support Old Dominion," she says. "There's no hard feelings."