Hometown Hero Wade Striving at Gulf Coast

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Panama City, FL --- The Gulf Coast men's basketball team is off to a 9-4 start this season, and one of the players leading the way so far for the Commodores is Rutherford Alum Jon Wade!

He leads the team with 20 points a game, is second in rebounds and assists.

He's also leading in the kind of ways that don't show up on a stat sheet!

Practice ended about an hour ago. Yet Jon Wade's work isn't done.

Alone in his zone, he puts up shot after shot until the total rises well over 200.

The hometown kid owns an unbreakable work ethic, one he showcased 15 minutes away in high school as a Rutherford Ram, the program's all-time leading scorer.

But a broken foot in senior year sent him down the JUCO path to Gulf Coast, a path he's happy to be on.

"A lot of people expected me to leave and go to a high major D-I, but after I got injured, a lot of stuff happened, so I had to make the right choice for me and my situation," says Wade. "So everybody supported me and I feel like this is the best thing for me right now."

Redshirting his first year allowed Wade to watch and learn so he could now thrive and lead.

"Jon has really upped the level of play for our entire team," says Commodores head coach Jay Powell. "Because he knows what's going on, he's been here for a season, he knows the ins and outs of the way we do things, it's given him the confidence to step up and try to guide the younger guys that have just been here a few months."

Despite leading the team in scoring, Jon credits success to those around him.

"None of this would be possible without my teammates. I don't play just for myself. I play for God first, and then I play for my team, my family. So I just give everything I have. Whatever happens, I put in the work everyday. So it's gonna show."

Wade's play is creating a future for himself at the D-I level, but his desires live in the present.

"I haven't thought about it too much. I'm just focusing on the season right now, but a national championship is my goal."

Wade and the Commodores will be back on the road this weekend for two games in Gainesville.