It almost wasn’t a choice when Paige Redditt started playing basketball her freshman year of high school. Her parents told her she had to try it. If she decided she did not want to continue with it then she didn’t have to keep playing, but they wanted her to at least try it.
Seven years later, Paige is a senior center for the Eastern Michigan University basketball team. There are a number of things Redditt loves about basketball, but it is the priceless intangible aspects that keep her coming back year after year.
“The relationships that you build because of basketball,” Redditt said of her favorite thing about basketball. “I feel like, especially in college, when I graduate there will be relationships that I have for the rest of my life. And I like that there are life lessons in basketball. It’s not a sport that you play and then it’s over, you learn valuable life lessons through it.
Those relationships can be one of the things Redditt considers central in her life.
“I am a very affectionate person,” Redditt said. “I’m very sensitive to my relationships and with those I care about. I love to cuddle, I cuddle them [her teammates] all the time.”
Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., Paige graduated from Belton High School after being named the all-time leading score with 1,000 career points. In her senior season, Redditt averaged 16.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 3.1 blocks.
Her efforts during that 2007-08 season earned her a spot on first-team All-Suburban Mid-Six, first-team All-Area and first-team All-Metro. She was also named the Suburban Mid-Six player of the year and selected as a Missouri All Star.
Upon graduating, Redditt had to face the decision of where she would continue her education and basketball career. Among her top three choices were Akron, Alabama A&M and Eastern, though she only made visits to Akron and EMU. After her visit at EMU Redditt knew it was the place for her.
“I chose Eastern because of the environment,” Redditt said. “They always say that when you go somewhere you’ll know, and I did feel like that once I got here. I felt like Coach (AnnMarie) Gilbert would give me the best opportunity to be the best player I can be.”
Since coming to EMU, Redditt has made countless accomplishments. She has ranked in the top 20 of the Mid-American Conference for rebounds, blocks and in the top five of the MAC for field-goal percentage.
“Scoring,” Redditt said when asked what her greatest improvement has been since coming to EMU. “I was a scorer in high school, but my first year and even my second year I wasn’t the go-to player. And I feel like my role as a scorer has improved drastically.”
Last season Redditt averaged 9.5 points and 6.1 rebounds. She finished the season ranked 30th in the MAC for scoring with 353 points, 19th in rebounds (225), fourth for field-goal percentage (51 percent), 11th in blocked shots (33) and eighth for offensive rebounds (111).
In her tenure at EMU, Paige has met countless people and developed a number of new relationships. Many people have made their stamp on her life that will last forever but one person’s impact sticks out to her when she looks back on her career.
“Coach (Leonard) Drake made a huge impact on me,” Redditt said. “Even though he’s gone now. He just made me realized that no one can stop me once I put my mind to being the player I’m trying to become. Especially when he passed, it taught me that life is short, and I just have to live life to the fullest.”
So far this season Redditt has started in each of the team’s eight contests. She is averaging 9.4 points on 37 percent shooting from the field. She pulls down an average of 9.6 rebounds and is 62.0 percent from the free-throw line.
One thing Redditt enjoys most about this squad is the positive energy it produces.
“The thing I like most about this team is that we can sit in a room and make each other laugh all day long,” Redditt said. “I love this team, and I think we a very close team. They make me smile. Whenever I’m in a bad mood, whatever injuries I have they always know how to make me feel better.”
Upon graduating with her degree in Psychology this spring, Redditt plans to pursue a graduate assistant position in Florida.