Being A Division I Athlete Isn't Just About Being An Athlete

Being A Division I Athlete Isn't Just About Being An Athlete

As a collegiate athlete, especially at the Division I level, you are expected to be the best of the best, not only in your sport but also in the classroom.

"Athletes get into any school if they are good enough at their sport."

"They could just fail out of school and it would not matter at all."

Let me just start here: where everyone thinks they know exactly what they're talking about when in reality they are so far from correct.

As a collegiate athlete, especially at the Division I level, you are expected to be the best of the best, not only in your sport but also in the classroom. But in actuality, it does not matter how good you are if you do not have the grades to back you up.

We are STUDENT athletes.

No matter how much we jokingly say otherwise, school will always come first.

As an athlete, you are representing the entire school in every race, game or match, and you must wear your school's name with pride and respect. A collegiate athlete is expected to be a well-rounded student who happens to have a special talent in their particular sport.

A Division I athlete is not much different than Division II or III, except the aspect of training and maybe a little more success in high school.

Coming from a very successful and prestigious rowing team in high school, I always knew I wanted to be Division I because I was always taught to work to be the best at whatever I encounter in my life.

The 20 (or more) hours of practice a week, plus school, plus visits to Sports Med to fix any nagging pains, plus just being a college student in general, seems to take up more hours of the day then there even are to offer, but somehow we all get it done.

Somehow, at the end of the day, we are able to sit back and reflect on how lucky we are to attend the amazing school we are at and to play the sports we love so much and be truly grateful.

I think I can speak for all athletes when saying that the most rewarding feeling is when you know you are getting better. When you know you made that positive change in the right direction, that will, in turn, help you become a better athlete.

I just wanted to clear the air on the fact that student-athletes are students first, but we also are athletes who work to our fullest potential and even more because it is who we are, and our minds are and will always be set on being the best of the best.

We will stop at nothing to keep fighting for that to happen.

Cover Image Credit: Lilly O'Sullivan

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Playoff Rondo Is A Different Breed

When he’s feeling it, Rajon Rondo is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA. Right now, he's feeling it.

Rajon Rondo lives for the postseason.

In the 2017 NBA Playoffs, he led the Chicago Bulls to two straight victories over the Celtics. In one of them, he was a rebound shy of a triple double and had 5 steals. Then he broke his thumb and was forced to miss the rest of the series. Chicago proceeded to lose four straight and were effectively eliminated from playoff contention.

Now, for the second straight year, Rondo is showing that he’s still got it in his early 30s. To be honest, I doubted Rondo would ever be an impact player again when he struggled in Dallas and Sacramento. It seemed his attitude was going to derail his career, and he would fail to live up to his potential.

However, he has been great for New Orleans this year, and he's playing even better this postseason. In Game 1 against Portland he had 17 assists and nearly had a triple-double in Game 2 (9 assists). He has led New Orleans in performances in which they have shown good ball movement, and on more than one occasion I’ve heard people watching say, “How did Rondo fit that ball in there?”. Playing with great scorers in Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, he seems more than comfortable in his role as a facilitator.

In addition to passing the ball extremely well, Rondo has been hustling to collect rebounds and has scored when the Pelicans have needed him to, ie. at the end of Game 2 when he hit a 3-point dagger with 38 seconds left to seal it.

The last couple of years Rondo has been stellar in the postseason, and he hasn’t lost a playoff game since 2015. His improved performance on the big stage is nothing new for him, though.

Over the course of his career, he’s averaged 3.8 more points, 1.2 more rebounds, and 0.7 more assists per game. These may not seem like significant jumps, but when you consider how many playoff games he’s competed in dating back to his days with the Paul Pierce-Ray Allen-Kevin Garnett Celtics, it becomes a bit more impressive.

When he’s feeling it, Rajon Rondo is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA. Right now he is feeling it. The boys down in NOLA are thriving because of it--also because of Jrue Holiday’s brilliant scoring performances and Anthony Davis’s perpetual brilliance in all areas of the game.

The series with Portland has been gritty, and the Pelicans have been forced to show that they have what it takes to close games. They’ve done that, and they did it in Portland. Now they head back to the Smoothie King Center with a chance to sweep at home. With as much confidence as they’re playing with right now, that very well might happen.

Cover Image Credit: New Orleans Pelicans YouTube

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Hurricanes Lose Walker, Brown Jr., And Huell To NBA Draft

Despite losing three of their highest scorers, the Hurricanes look to make the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year in 2019.

With Lonnie Walker (Freshman Guard), Bruce Brown Jr. (Sophomore Guard), and Dewan Huell announcing that they are leaving for the NBA draft, Jim Larranaga looks to move forward. Huell is the only one of the three that chose not to sign an agent. The significance of this is that he still has the option to return to college. Walker and Brown Jr., however, do not have this option.

Lonnie Walker had a solid year for the Miami Hurricanes. The five star recruit averaged 11.5 points and helped lead the Hurricanes to a berth in the NCAA tournament. One of his best games came at home against Boston College when he hit the game winning three. His most high scoring games were versus Boston University (26 points), versus Louisville (25 points), and @ Florida State (23 points).

Bruce Brown Jr. had a year that was shortened by injury. However, he still had a solid year. The Sophomore Guard averaged 11.4 points. His best games came versus Middle Tennessee State (20 points) and versus Florida State (23 points). Hurricanes fans were sad to see the star guard’s season end prematurely, but wish him the best in the NBA.

Dewan Huell, the third Hurricane to declare for the draft, had a breakout Sophomore season. He averaged 11.4 points. His best games were @ Minnesota (23 points), versus Middle Tennessee (21 points), and versus Florida State (20 points).

While Lonnie Walker is projected to get drafted in the first round lottery, Bruce Brown and Dewan Huell are projected to go late first or early second round.

Hopefully, the Hurricanes can rally next year and reach the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year.

As for Lonnie Walker, Bruce Brown Jr., and Dewan Huell, best of luck in the NBA!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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