Gamble, who recently completed her playing career at A-State, was a three-time Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball Student-Athlete of the Year and a two-time All-America after earning Senior CLASS Second-Team honors in 2015-16 and WBCA Honorable Mention All-American status as a junior. She is also a nominee for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year of the award, given annually to select female student-athletes who excel at all levels of competition and academic performance.
“It’s been well documented that she’s one of the best basketball players to ever come through this program, but beyond that she also has tremendous drive, work ethic and competitiveness which will carry over into coaching,” Boyer said. “In most cases, it is hard for a player to transition from being a player to right into coaching, b ut Drea is different than most and I believe in her ability to make this transition. Both our returners and newcomers will be able to benefit greatly from her experience as a player. I also think she’ll have a great message to communicate to our recruits.”
Gamble’s playing career concluded with her ranking fourth on the all-time A-State scoring list with 1,932 points, while also dishing 492 assists which tied the record for second most in school history. She helped lead the Red Wolves to 73 victories in her career, the most over any three year period on school history, and helped her squad reach the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) in each of her three seasons on the court.
The McKinney, Texas native is the only player in Sun Belt Conference history to win the Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete of the Year award in three consecutive seasons and she is just the second player in A-State women’s basketball history to achieve All-American status.
Gamble also won the SBC Female Student-Athlete of the Year award in 2016, making her the second female athlete in school history to win the award joining Sharika Nelvis who won in 2014. Her 2016 Senior CLASS Second-Team All-American recognition also gave her the distinction of being the first female athlete in school history to be named a Senior CLASS All-American.
“I am excited to move into this next chapter of my life,” Gamble said. “I had a wonderful experience playing at Arkansas State and for Coach Boyer and it was an amazing experience accomplishing all the great things that we did. I think I will bring a unique vision to the coaching staff having just recently completed my playing career, while also learning and honing my coaching skills from one of the best coaching staffs in the country.”
During her senior season, Gamble ranked in the top-50 in the NCAA in points per game, free-throw percentage, final points, minutes played per game, assists, field goals made and minutes played. Her 18.8 points per game ranked second best in the conference, while she led the league with 164 assists on the year. She also held elite company with UCONN’s Breanna Stewart as the only two players in the nation to average over 18 points, four assists and shot over 50 percent per game this season.
As a junior she led the league with a 19.2 points per game average and ranked in the top-20 in eight statistical categories. Nationally her points per game average was the 38th best in all of Division I, while she also became the 22nd player in school history to surpass 1,000 points for a career and helped the Red Wolves reach the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Championship tournament for the second consecutive year.
During Gamble’s sophomore campaign, her first season at A-State, she became just the third player in school history to be named the conference’s Player of the Year, joining Shyla Tucker (1993-94) and Sonja Tate (1992-93). She finished the regular season ranked second in the conference in point per game (18.7) and assists per game (4.2) and No. 3 in steals per game (2.2). She ranks in the top-10 in nine statistical categories and already ranks second among active SBC players with three career 30-point games. She currently ranks seventh on Arkansas State’s single season scoring list with 561 points and set a new Convocation Center by going a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line against Western Kentucky on Feb. 5.
In addition to her numerous accolades, the former three-year letterwinner owns the A-State women’s basketball record for the most SBC Student-Athlete of the Week awards in a career at seven and is the only two-time All-American in the program’s history.