Howard senior Brandie Wingate, the daughter of David Wingate, who played at Dunbar, Georgetown and in the NBA, isn't afraid to tell her teammates what she thinks before and after games. During games, the 6-1 point guard/forward is busy averaging 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and three assists.
The Lions are off to their best start in years, and Wingate says that's because she and her teammates have played together for four years or more.
What is your role with the Lions?
I'm a leader. But I'm not the captain. I do know what I'm talking about, and I do step up and tell people what's needed before and after the game. I am harsh. I tell it how it is. I say certain stuff to allow other players to bring out their "A" games so that we can be better as a team, not just as individuals.
Can you give me an example of what you say?
I tell them to shoot. To take a chance. I tell them, "Don't look for one person to score. You have a shot. Take it. And if you miss, so what? Don't be scared. Play without fear."
How long have you been playing basketball?
All my life. My dad played. ... I talk to him about the game and I've benefited from his athletic knowledge.
You've been with the team for four years. How do you think the team has changed this year?
We've grown. It has to be with maturity. We have the same people, but the skills have gotten better. The discipline has gotten better. We communicate better. We're more mature. And Coach Kim [Kennedy], she's the best coach we've had so far. We've had a new coach almost every year, and she's the best. Not because we're winning, but because of her knowledge of the game. She knows what she's talking about. And she's big on discipline. We don't want to mess around. And, she cares about us off the basketball court, too. Last night, after practice, I had to study for a Spanish test and she stayed to help me study. I think I did good on the test today.
What are your goals in basketball?
I want to be a better all-around basketball player. I want to use my left hand more and be more physical as a player on the inside. ... I'm not afraid to go to the basket. But I need to be more physical when I'm rebounding. Dad tells me a lot. He told me I need to be quicker on my jump shot and that I need to dribble the ball lower when I'm coming down court. And he told me to get more rebounds and be more physical. I'm trying, but I don't really like the contact.
Do you plan to play basketball in college?
Yes, basketball is my main focus. It's what I want to do. I'm looking at Rutgers, Coppin and Georgetown. Georgetown, yes, I'm going to try.
Do you know what career, beyond basketball you might want to pursue?
Maybe I'd like to be a lawyer. I'm argumentative. Or a marriage psychologist. I think that would be interesting, too.
This interview is running on Christmas Day. Do you and your family have some special Christmas traditions?
We get together - my family [mom, Tyra Holland; brother Bryce, 8, and sister Brittney, 21], my grandmother, uncles and cousins and aunts, and dad sometimes. He lives in North Carolina. But we all get together and have a big dinner, stay at home and watch Christmas movies like The Grinch and This Christmas. I love This Christmas. We have our big turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, so on Christmas we do a seafood thing. My mom's a great cook. She makes jumbo crab legs - they're my favorite. And we have crab cakes and seafood platters and stuff. I love the food. I do like to eat.