The day where family and basketball intertwine has finally arrived at Montclair State University. Meet Cerys MacLelland, a Montclair State Red Hawks women’s basketball player, daughter and business management major here at Montclair State.
Her drive came in the fifth grade. MacLelland wound up carrying her passion of basketball from elementary school all the way to high school. At that point, she knew she was serious about the game and Montclair State came knocking at her door.
As a graduate of Cranford High School, MacLelland saw Montclair State as a great school that she really enjoyed.
Being crowned County Champion in high school, Montclair State was destined for her, as the Red Hawks women’s basketball team had been dominant for years before she arrived. The team has done well when it comes to winning, just take a look at their record from the past five years.
Since her time here, the Red Hawks have continued to win more. MacLelland is a big part of that.
However, her road to success didn’t come easily at Montclair State.
When MacLelland was a freshman, she left school and took a semester off to do some world traveling. The program she entered was designed around students who wanted to take a gap semester. MacLelland found herself in Fiji doing some volunteer work. The time off set her back, but coach Karin Harvey was gracious enough to let her back on the team upon her return.
“It was tough, taking a year off is a little bit rough, but I think my teammates just helped so much to get back in the swing of things and boost my confidence,” MacLelland said.
After time off, MacLelland has learned to cherish the game more. Whether that is going to practices and looking forward to games, she didn’t take it for granted anymore.
“I really didn’t think I’d ever be playing basketball again,” MacLelland said.
MacLelland is looked to as a leader on the team. She knows saying the aforementioned is the truth about this women’s team. This year they seem more hungry playing as a lower seed than in year’s past.
MacLelland is not the only one in her family who has left their mark on Montclair State. Her father, Stuart MacLelland, is a first-year television and digital media professor at Montclair State. When she came back from her Australian trip, he arrived on campus to begin his teaching. The plus side is that he gets to see his daughter play more than ever.
“Obviously I see her a lot more during the season because I go to the games,” MacLelland said. “Usually she will stop by once a week just between classes or because she doesn’t want to go back to her dorm. She pops into my office or into the studio to see what I’m doing.”
MacLelland talked about her father coming to the games more.
“He comes to every game when he doesn’t have Wednesday night classes,” MacLelland said. “Hopefully he’ll have to cancel class come Wednesday.”
One could only wish for snow or having a parent as a professor to cancel class. All kidding aside, MacLelland cherishes the fact that her dad can make it to each practice when he can and that he’s been there to support her while playing college basketball.
Professor MacLelland noticed his daughter’s potential at a very young age. MacLelland says that she began trying out different types of sports like lacrosse, hockey and basketball back when she was in the second grade. Around the time when MacLelland was a sophomore in high school was when she fully focused her efforts on basketball, according to professor MacLelland.
With two years of eligibility left for his daughter, professor MacLelland says there is only room for improvement from here on out.
“The more she plays and the more game experience at this level she gets, I think she can only get better,” Professor MacLelland said. “I think she had a very good season, but just playing with the same group over the next year can only bring good elements to the team and [MacLelland].”
When it comes back down to basketball and her game itself, when asked if there’s a specific player she likes to watch and model her game after, she gracefully replied LeBron James. Who can blame her? MacLelland doesn’t watch a whole lot of basketball off the court, but as long as she keeps watching James, she’ll have no problem keeping her game sharp.
If there is one specific tangible thing she seeks in James’ game, MacLelland said it was the way James helps his teammates.
“I like the way he sets up plays for his teammates and being offensive-minded,” MacLelland said.
Professor MacLelland went back in time when comparing his daughter’s game.
“Being a point guard is all about distributing the ball, making good passes and initiating plays,” Professor MacLelland said. “She’s a Jason Kidd model. He was able to send you the short pass or the full court pass and [MacLelland] can do that too. They are both able to see the court very well.”
MacLelland is a role model for every athlete here at Montclair State. Her commitment to excellence and drive for the game makes her a tremendous talent on and off the court. As for MacLelland, you can find her at the gym and on the court. Who knows, maybe you’ll find her hanging with her dad.