Love for the game: Ericka Pratt looks to play basketball post NEC

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Ericka Pratt has been dribbling a basketball since she was 7 years old, and she’s been an important member of NEC’s basketball program since 2019. Pratt’s resilience and love for basketball have pushed her past some of the toughest adversities anyone could face.

Early on, Pratt was inspired by her family members. She grew up watching her cousin Sylvia Fowles who plays in the WNBA, and her older brother.

“Now I do play for my dad. He just recently passed,” Pratt said.

Pratt’s strategy to cope with this loss is to keep playing her game.

“When I’m not playing basketball, I don’t know how to cope or do anything, honestly. It’s just hard,” Pratt said.

Pratt said that mental health is very important, she recently started meditating and journaling to prioritize hers. She expressed the importance of student-athletes and their mental health.

Ericka Pratt shoots around on Wednesday night in preparation for the All-Star game. She wore a shirt in memory of her late father.

Pratt’s teammates can attest to her hard work and dedication to her sport.

“She’s very passionate about the game of basketball; it means a lot to her. She always pushes us to be better and she really just wants what’s best for all of us and for the team,” Freshman Mackenzie McDonald said.

“She’s very tough, she’s hardworking, she’ll get on to you for the good and bad, she’s just a player who wants to win,” Junior Alissia Corona said.

Pratt has had many successes in her career, and she has the statistics to prove her dominance on the court.

In conference play this year, Pratt stood in third for points per game and second in free throw percentage and rebounds. She was named player of the week three times during the 2022-2023 season, and she was named to the All-Conference team. Pratt was most recently selected to play in the 2023 New England Women’s Basketball Association All-Star game.

“I am satisfied; I’m grateful for what I’ve accomplished this season. The beginning half of the season I started off with six double-doubles, so that’s pretty new to me,” Pratt said.

Pratt and the team had a successful season, a tough battle in the semi-finals ended their season this year. These accomplishments  came with some tribulations.

“We went through a lot as a team, mentally, a few of my teammates and myself experienced great losses this year,” Pratt said.

These adversities push Pratt to excel in her future basketball career. She plans to play overseas after her career is over at NEC.

“I’m going to go overseas and eventually try to get to the leagues,” Pratt said.

Pratt said to pursue this dream, there’s networking and research involved in joining a basketball combine. She said there is looking at a Division III combine in Massachusetts.

Pratt’s advice to incoming and current collegiate athletes is to be consistent, work hard, continue to grow, and be patient.

“People have a lot of problems with getting playing time or feeling like they’re accepted by their coaches, I just want to say wait your turn and just keep being consistent and do what you got to do. Show your coaches that you’re going hard, you care, and you want to be here because you only get one chance,” Pratt said.

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