Former player of the year signs with Birmingham-Southern

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, May 23, 2012

By ALDO AMATO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Surrounded by family and friends, former Montevallo High standout and Shelby County Player of the Year Amber Cardwell signed on to play basketball for Birmingham-Southern College next season at Harvest Place Church on Tuesday.

Cardwell, who graduated in 2011, said that this year off to recover from cornea surgery both helped and hurt her development.

“That year off hurt me because I was ready to go out and compete,” she said. “But it also helped because it helped me realize how important school was.”

Despite being out of commission for a year, Cardwell said that she studied the game and learned new moves to improve her technique upon returning.

“Even though I couldn’t get out there and physically practice, I focused on new moves,” she said. “I kept studying the game and watched as many games as I could to prepare myself.”

Faith and family played an important role in Cardwell’s perseverance. Cardwell said that her parents most of all have been there to push and motivate her.

“My mother and my father have been pushing me since I can remember,” she said. “Those two have been my rock throughout all of this.”

Cardwell’s mother, LaTresa Cardwell-Kelly, said that her daughter is more than ready to get back to doing one of the things she loves the most.

“I know that she is going to do well because she’s hungry,” Cardwell-Kelly said. “She has seen the fruit of her labor and being patient so she’s ready to go now.”

Cardwell’s father Antonio Kelly said he strived to keep her grounded in faith and family while Amber was growing up.

“Amber has always been a leader and I’ve always been there to encourage her to be one,” he said. “As she became that leader, she has set a good example for her younger sister. Faith and family mean everything to Amber.”

One of the principle figures in Cardwell’s faith life has been her pastor, the Rev. Wales Williams Jr. Williams Jr. said that in the time he has been Cardwell’s pastor, he has seen her grow even in times of difficulty.

“I’ve seen Amber grow in the place where she believed for God to keep her patient,” he said. “She has excelled to a point in her craft. She’s had a strong seed of faith that has brought her to this point.”

Throughout the year off, the former player of the year said she has remained humbled and cannot wait to suit up in a black and gold uniform for the Lady Panthers.

“I’m ready,” she said. “I just want to be the best leader I can be on and off the court for my teammates and my family.”