UPPER MORELAND — Brady Wassel learned a lot her freshman year in ways she didn’t quite expect to.
Wassel, a Lansdale Catholic graduate, started her first year of college at Holy Family and finished it at Albright after a mid-season transfer. This summer, she’s back playing in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s College Summer League with a lot more experience.
Sometimes, change is good but Wassel is still plenty glad for all the experience she gained at both stops last year.
“It’s such an awesome experience, not many people get the chance to be in such a competitive summer league and this year I’m on a different team, so it’s different players I’m learning so much from,” Wassel said. “There’s so many things I didn’t know last year and even with one year of college under my belt, I’m still just learning.”
Wassel made a combined 12 appearances between Holy Family and Albright and it was the teammates at both stops that really made an imprint. Even with older siblings who were college athletes, Wassel noted there’s no amount of advice or stories that can prepare someone for that first year away.
Transferring mid-season and having to fit in with two completely different coaching staffs and sets of teammates was a challenge, but it’s something Wassel feels stronger for having gone through.
“I learned a lot at Holy Family, I’m still really good friends with the girls on the team but moving on to Albright, it was such an easy transition,” Wassel said. “Overcoming adversity is something everyone has to go through and I’m so thankful for that experience. It didn’t work out how I wanted it to initially but everything happens for a reason.”
Wassel said she was able to lean on her oldest sister Shea during the transfer process. Shea Wassel played two years at Gwynedd Mercy before transferring to York College and Brady said her older sister was a great mentor and guide as she decided what move was best for her.
This summer, Wassel is part of Team Purple which has been a valuable learning experience in itself. About half the team is either current or incoming college players including 2019 Council Rock North grads Dana Bandurick and Sydney Blum while the other half are all East Stroudsburg alumni.
With five players who went through an entire college career on the same bench, Wassel hasn’t been shy about taking any lessons she can from them.
“There are no coaches for the summer league teams but I feel like I have five coaches,” Wassel said. “They’re awesome. They really want the girls still in college to get better, they’re critiquing us and it’s really cool because you’re learning it from a player’s standpoint. They’ve been through it and I’m just soaking it up.”
Wassel, who led Purple with 17 points in a win Tuesday night, said the biggest adjustment in college was the size of other players. Her senior year at LC, the 5-foot-10 forward was the team’s tallest player but life in the post as a college player is much different.
The rising sophomore credited the summer league for helping give her an idea what to expect last year.
“Girls are tougher, they’re older, they’re stronger and things you got away with in high school, you just can’t do in college,” Wassel said. “I’m just working on my overall game, trying to be more versatile and just soaking it all in.”
Wassel felt joining Albright mid-season gave her an advantage because she doesn’t have to “start from scratch” this year.
“We have a young group of players, so we’re focused on rebuilding,” Wassel said. “I’m really excited for the next couple of years.”
Prior to last November, it had been more than 10 years since Jen and Ashley Kremp weren’t on a basketball court as teammates.
The twins, 2018 graduates from Jenkintown, split up after high school but have reunited this summer. They’re the only players on team Sky Blue who don’t attend Holy Family and it hasn’t stopped them from enjoying the experience so far.
“It was weird not being on the same team in the beginning,” Jen said. “But I think we were both able to adapt.”
“Watching each other play instead of being out there together was very weird,” Ashley added.
Jen opted to continue her hoops career after high school, signing with Dickinson and finishing her freshman year as the team’s second leading scorer. She made 20 starts in 25 appearances and finished with an even 10.0 points per game.
“It’s a very different coaching style, it’s the first female coach I’ve ever had,” Jen said. “She’s very focused on pushing yourself throughout the season whether you’re playing or not and she teaches really well. We have a really good mindset for every game and I’m looking forward to the next three years with her.”
Ashley left Jenkintown thinking her playing days were over. But not too long into her first semester at Penn State’s main campus, she missed the game too much and joined the university’s club team. It’s competitive basketball too, with players who were high school standouts and trips for away games and tournaments.
There are players in the league who have either graduated or exhausted their eligibility at the college level, but Ashley Kremp is the only one in the league who is not a Division I, II or III player.
“I didn’t think I was going to miss it, but I’m happy I decided to try out for the club team,” Ashley said. “It’s definitely a different type of competitiveness, but I like it a lot. I can manage doing it along with a lot of other different things.”
The twins didn’t play in the league last year, but another former Jenkintown standout pointed them in its direction this summer. Emma Dorshimer, who finished a sterling career at Gettysburg College last season, told the Kremps it was a good way to keep in shape while playing at game speed.
While they aren’t Holy Family players, the sisters have fit in very well with their summer team.
“They were very welcoming from the beginning,” Ashley said. “They’ve really made us feel like we’re a part of their team and it’s easy to play with them.”
“Everyone on the court has a really good eye,” Jen added. “They see the open pass or the open player. We’re really good at sharing the ball and waiting for the best option.”
The league has timed quarters and referees but no shot clock, so it’s not exactly a replica of a college game. At the same time, it’s plenty valuable and Jen Kremp said it’s still very competitive and that type of environment fosters improvement.
“The speed of the game is so different,” Jen said. “Jenkintown is kind of known for holding the ball and with the shot clock, it’s a change of pace. I learned to adapt to it, it’s a good change and forces you to be on your toes all the time.”
Even though they were at separate schools, the twins still got to see each other play a few times during the year. They said they talked to each other almost every day, especially the first semester away.
“At first, I was really nervous,” Ashley said. “You can make it feel small and once I did that, I got comfortable. I really like it a lot there.”
“I think once we realized we were both really happy where we are, we both really calmed down and started to create our own experiences,” Jen added.”