After making the decision to attend Rochester College, I was able to check off two of my life goals... going to college and getting an athletic scholarship to play basketball. Heading into college I got to meet a couple very close friends, all with the same game plan as me, make a good impression and work your tail off to do so. Shout out to Chris, Gump, E King, Ty, Hacias, Jason, and E Brice!!! I'm not going to break this down nearly as much as I did for my high school years but I did want to share a few things. Basketball for me took on a total new meaning at RC. It was a place I found God, my beautiful wife Kristen, some of my closest friends ever, and people who cared about my future just as much as I did.
Here we go...
During my first year in college, I had to deal with something unfamiliar to me during my basketball journey... being injured. Two days before my first collegiate game, I was dealt a broken ankle and some torn ligaments. It was devastating to me... I had to Redshirt that season and missed playing with all the close friends who entered college with me. This was very hard for me to deal with, but I handled it as best as I could. I showed up for every practice, game, bus trip, community service project, and suicide given by the coaches. I think this did far more for me than I could imagine looking back now. It drove me to work harder to get back in shape and rehab the ankle so I could be out there next time with my teammates/brothers/family.
The next season was very memorable for me. I was reunited with my teammates on the basketball court and showed an appreciation for the game like never before. I was beyond thankful for the opportunity to play the game and I tried to show that every time I stepped on the floor. This particular year was a journey like no other though, as we were fortunate enough to play for a Small College National Championship. We were in Tulsa, OK for our national tournament and it was my first taste of basketball on that type of stage. We rallied together and came out as victors that time. NATIONAL CHAMPS!!! One of the best memories I have to date playing basketball in my lifetime (And I'll tell you what, no matter the level of play, that feeling someone gets from being a national champion is the same at every level of basketball).
My next two years (only played 3 seasons, opted to graduate on time) of basketball were probably the ones that have impacted my life the most as an adult. I developed a relationship with God and that was the best decision I've ever made. This was in large part due to my wife and coach, Garth Pleasant. He was a minister, coach, professor, and friend to me. Garth introduced his passion for God from the time I stepped on campus. He came off odd to me at first, but after finally uncovering the meaning behind his purpose in life (coaching players in life by showing them God and then basketball), it all started to make sense to me. He cared more about me as a person and how I would grow up as a husband, father, and son. Coaching basketball was his tool to get his foot in the door with players, but teaching them how to be good, productive people was his real purpose. For all that he's done, I'm forever indebted to him! Sorry for running off on that tangent... Back to basketball! These final two seasons contained life experiences I'll never forget, road trips with Gump doing something unforgettable, to playing against Division I teams, to arguing with Chris about who's better between Bron and Melo, to visiting states I will only see once in my lifetime. These experiences all were generated from me being a basketball player. Basketball had opened doors for me in life that I would not have seen otherwise.
Hopefully this series on how basketball started in my life and my walk with it, has shown you why I decided to start a blog on something so meaningful to me. There will be lots of my personal thoughts and beliefs about the game, different topics I'll expect feedback or your thoughts on, and hopefully a different perspective about the game of basketball. We'll see where in the world basketball takes me this time.