The Nubian Message had the opportunity to catch up with Graduate Student, Guard Kai Crutchfield from the NC State Women’s Basketball Team.
Crutchfield has been a part of one of the most successful classes in NC State basketball history. Just how successful? Since Crutchfield’s arrival, the team has made it to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 (3x) which hadn’t been reached since 2007. The team has also received 2 ACC Conference Tournament Championships (2020, 2021) which they hadn’t won since 1991, and an ACC Regular-Season Title for the first time in 32 years.
A starter since her sophomore year, Crutchfield has been impactful in the team’s success in recent years. NC State is currently the best 3-point shooting team in the conference and Crutchfield is a big reason for that. She shoots a team-leading 46% from the 3 point line.
We discussed life on and off the court including what brought her to NC State, the upcoming postseason run, and more:
Nubian Message: Who were your early influences on the basketball court?
Kai Crutchfield: Track and field was actually my first love and sport. I come from an athletic family, so we all play different types of sports. But when it comes to the WNBA I would say, Cappie Pondexter and Candace Parker.
NM: What led you towards NC State?
KC: What led me towards NC State was it really felt like home. I didn’t want to go further than 4 to 6 hours away from home because I’m a really big family person. It was important to me to have family members that could come to every game. Along with all the resources that NC State provides.
NM: How do you spend your time off the court?
KC: Off the court, I spend my time in different clubs for student involvement such as the student-athlete advisory committee and Pack United, along with situational leadership. I also own a modern, unorthodox and creative brand that puts faith into fashion called Scripted Apprl (www.scriptedapprl.com). I value my family so I make an effort to see them as much as possible.
NM: How’d it feel to win the conference regular-season title?
KC: It was truly a blessing to win the regular-season title. I know myself and the team worked super hard for it so seeing that plaque/trophy being brought out at the end of the game just made me feel so amazing.
NM: Did you expect to be this successful on the court at NC State?
KC: I would say I saw myself being successful on the court at NC State. I have high expectations for myself and I want to do the best that I can to represent my family. I know that God gave me the talent to perform and it would be selfish of me not to put that into play.
NM: What are your thoughts on the upcoming postseason run?
KC: My thoughts on the postseason run would definitely be just to continue to play how I know NC State can play. I know that there may come some adversities or challenges along the way but I have all the confidence in the world that our team will make it happen. I also know that it’s already written, so we just have to trust the process.
NM: We know your family has deep ties to the Raleigh area. Do you plan on staying here after the season?
KC: Yes I do have very strong family ties in Raleigh. I do see myself staying in the Raleigh area after the postseason. We actually have a family trip planned this summer to the Dominican Republic.
NM: How do you handle being a role model in the community?
KC: I handle being a role model in the community simply because I have younger family members that look up to me and I know they are watching the things that I do. I want them to do better than me and not necessarily have to learn the hard way. Also because I want to be an example of how a Black woman can be successful not only athletically but academically and in the community.
NM: Is there anything you’d like to say to Wolfpack Nation?
KC: To Wolfpack Nation, I’d like to say thank you for all the support you’ve given me over the past five years. It truly means the world. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I made lots of connections and met a lot of good people. It also made my decision to come back for the fifth year that much easier.
The Nubian Message would like to thank Kai for the interview and wish her along with the rest of the NC State Women’s Basketball Team success. They begin their postseason run in the ACC tournament this Friday, Mar. 4th in Greensboro, NC. The Wolfpack will be looking to win the tournament for the third year in a row, earning the first three-peat of the ACC tournament in NC State’s women’s basketball history.