Erica Wheeler has the dribble, drive and stamina as a spark plug off the Indiana Fever’s bench, but she also has the experience the be a community leader in life.
In her third season in the WNBA, Wheeler, a South Florida native by way of Rutgers, is enjoying good days.
According to her bio, Wheeler grew up in her grandmother’s five-bedroom house with a dozen other siblings and relatives until she was 11, in a rough-and-tumble section of Miami. Her mother helped steer her from playing pick-up ball in local parks, toward organized school and basketball at Monsignor Pace, and eventually Parkway Academy. “I grew up in a less fortunate neighborhood and just get the word out to my neighborhood or any neighborhood that I can visit and just let them know, no matter where you come from, don’t mean you have to act like where you come from or stay where you grew up at,” Wheeler told me in a recent interview on Scoop B Radio.
Check out Erica Wheeler and Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson’s chat on Scoop B Radio.
During her high school career, Wheeler helped Parkway to a pair of state championships as a junior and senior in 2008 and 2009. After considering South Carolina, LSU and Florida, she chose Rutgers University to play collegiate ball.
Wheler had a decent college career. The speedy guard averaged 10.5 points per game in her season, the same year that her mother passed away from ovarian cancer. Wheeler credits Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer for helping her become ‘a young woman that will be ready for life.’
After graduating from Rutgers she spent time overseas playing in Puerto Rico and even in the WNBA with the New York Liberty. But she’s found a home with the Indiana Fever.
She and her team enjoyed the Fever’s first win of the season on Saturday after overcoming an 11-point deficit to beat the Connecticut Sun 81-79 on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The victory was the team’s first victory since the retirement of Tamika Catchings.
Wheeler has found a home and she’s pleased with her journey, stating:
“There’s always better out there but do you want to get out and see what’s better or take a route that may be tough but will make you a better person. A lot of people want it easy a lot of people don’t want to go through the bumps and bruises to get to where they want to be but that’s what I had to do. I went through a lot, I ended up losing my mom a few years ago who was like my mentor, my motivator and my best friend and that’s what fuels me now because I know that she’s watching me now more than ever so every move I make is me trying to be a better person, a better ball player, a better sister, a better auntie. My whole thing now is just to be better at everything that I do.”
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