Walking through the Springfield College campus, students tend to be out and about going through their daily activities. Most students have busy days and have no time to rest, but smiling and outgoing freshman Ava Adamopolous may have you stop in your tracks.
The 6-foot-2-inch center for the women’s basketball team always has a smile on her face no matter how her day is going. A native of Ludlow, Mass., just minutes from the campus, Adamopolous made her decision to attend the close-to-home school back in December of 2012.
“One day after school I get a knock at my door from my mom and she says we’re going to visit Springfield College,” Adamopolous explained.
Adamopolous was planning on playing at the Division II level, but something about Springfield College caught her eye.
“As I was walking up the pathway to the athletic complex to meet with Coach Graves, I looked at Abbey, Gulick, the tennis courts, and I just said to myself, ‘Oh my god I think I found my school,’” Adamopolous said.
Ever since stepping foot on campus, Adamopolous has worked hard with her new teammates to strive for success. A former three-sport star in high school, the Ludlow High graduate was not only successful on the basketball court. Adamopolous also played volleyball in the fall season and outdoor track in the spring.
Her success in the discus led Adamopolous to be Western Mass. champion her senior year in outdoor track. But, despite her versatility as an athlete, she knew basketball was the sport for her. She joined the Ludlow girls’ varsity team as a freshman and began to see immediate success.
Adamopolous was selected last spring to the All-Scholastic Western Massachusetts Women’s Basketball Team. She was aware of her success at Ludlow, but knew the transition to college ball would be different.
“In high school I was a leader on my team; now I’m looking up to the leaders,” Adamopolous added.
The humble attitude that goes with Adamopolous’ work ethic has led her to have early success so far this season.
The freshman’s strong connection with Coach Naomi Graves has clearly helped her so far. Adamopolous knew Graves since her freshman year of high school. She went to basketball camps at Springfield College and Graves was her coach. Graves heard great things from her assistant coach, who was pursuing Adamopolous.
“I knew immediately that this is a kid that I wanted in my gym,” Graves said. “Ava would completely fit into our culture and just our basketball culture.”
Coming off the Pride’s bench, the freshman has become an important piece to her team.
In the first five games of the season, Adamopolous has averaged 5.4 points a game in just under 15 minutes a game. The biggest impact Adamopolous has made so far is her ability to grab the rebounds. Adamopolous has averaged exactly six rebounds a game and has already made crucial plays to help her team win.
In the Pride’s recent game against Babson, Adamopolous grabbed 10 rebounds in 20 minutes of action to help the Pride beat NEWMAC-rival Babson College, 47-42. Adamopolous realizes what her role is and knows what kind of impact she can have.
“Coach wants me to be a presence down low. I get the boards when I need to and get in good position to get the rebound,” Adamopolous added.
Graves is pleased with Adamopolous’ performance so far, but knows she can do more.
“Ava has done some really nice things for us. I still expect her to have a greater impact. Having her presence on the court inside changes everything,” Graves added.
The freshman has already had success this season, but knows what she wants to achieve later on.
“I want to go to the NEWMAC Tournament and go as far as we can,” said Adamopolous.
The road to the freshman standout’s goal continues on December 4 when her team travels to Worcester to take on NEWMAC foe Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Springfield, at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the NEWMAC, will certainly need Adamopolous’ help throughout the remainder of the season to reach tournament play.