“Rod with the three”



Senior guard Rodrick Caldwell began playing for AU in 2018 after transferring from Division I BGSU.

Brooke Young

Rodrick Caldwell.
A name that conjures up thoughts of offensive fire, 3-point shots, and an unmistakable presence on the court.

Yet, to those who know him best, another adjective also comes to mind: calmness. Level-headedness. Even-keeled. All of these words have been used to describe the approach Caldwell has on and off the court.

Caldwell’s passion and love for the game began early, shooting a basketball for the first time at the age of only 3-years-old alongside his father, who had played basketball throughout his life.
“My love for the game came from being around him all of the time, being in the gym all of the time,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell most recently was named the GLIAC South Player of the Week, following his monumental performance against Davenport and Grand Valley State, where he tied a school record with nine 3-pointers against Davenport. Scoring a career-high, 31 points in the game, Caldwell is a driving force in the current momentum of the AU Men’s Basketball Team.

“Not everyone can be the next LeBron and go to the NBA, these guys keep me level headed, we can just have fun and be free for now,” Caldwell said. “We all have a really good bond.”

Ever since his transfer from Division I Bowling Green State University in 2018, Caldwell has lit up the AU court with both his intense drive for success according to head men’s basketball coach John Ellenwood.

“He’s one of those guys that is just electric,” he said.

Ellenwood stressed that Caldwell’s creativity on the court is of utmost importance. His ability to create his own shots and willingness to always try something new was an adjustment for Ellenwood, who had never coached someone “who was a scoring guard in that point guard position.”

Caldwell said that his experience at Ashland has gone beyond the basketball court, and that connecting with his teammates has provided him with an outlet.

“He’s the guy that gets us going when our energy is flat” red-shirt junior guard Aaron Thompson said. “He just makes it really easy to play along with leadership like that.”

Caldwell may not be the tallest or largest force on the team, standing at 6-foot-tall, but he always brings heart.

“He knows how to paint his picture,” Ellenwood siad. “He sees what he wants to paint before he ever puts his brush to the canvas and it has something that he has always been able to do.

Everyone knows that about him. You just want to put him in those positions as a coach where he can be creative. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in toughness and confidence. He’s not scared of anyone out there.”

Caldwell said his father told him early on that he’s “the tallest person, but to stand out from everyone else,” to focus on shooting the ball and learning how to score.

“I’m not the biggest out there, I’m not the fastest, I’m not the tallest, but with my ability to score and shoot, it helps me a lot,” Caldwell said.

Another notable component of Caldwell’s game and life is his strong faith, which has grown from his teammates and experiences since arriving at Ashland.

When the team hits a rough patch during the season, Caldwell reminds everyone that basketball is just a game and that keeping faith is most important.

“We keep our faith in God,” Caldwell said. “We can’t let the bad things get us down. We got to stay level-headed, keep up our faith, and give all of the praise to God.”

In the recent Davenport and Grand Valley Games, Ellenwood said that he caught himself emotional at what Caldwell was accomplishing on the floor, citing the moments are memories he will never forget.

“He has fun playing the game his way, and it’s something where you don’t want to overwhelm him with negativity,” Ellenwood said. “He knows how to motivate himself. You’ve just got to be even-keeled with him.”

Caldwell intends to enjoy his final season as an Eagle, and have a rewarding experience alongside his brothers.

“Although we have put blood, sweat and tears into this game, in the end it is all just a game,” Thompson said. “Sometimes we get a little turnt up or irritated or frustrated but we can’t let it get to us because it is just a game, I learned that from Rod.”

Ellenwood said that Caldwell is a special part of the team, not only on the court, but off the court as well. He creates the shots when you need them and he can make it happen, feeding off the unscripted moments in the game.

Approaching the end of the season and Caldwell’s last games on the court, Ellenwood said that he “cherishes every moment he has left on the floor.”

The Eagles (16-9 overall, 9-8 conference) will play their next game against Northwood on Feb. 22 at 3:00 p.m.