It was a
conversation with my mother that molded me into the person I am today.
about six years ago. She always told my brother and I to follow our dreams. No
matter what happened, she said I needed to stay in school, stay committed and
stay humble. She passed away a few weeks after that conversation. I miss her
all the time, but her words stay with me. They’ve helped me become a much more
driven person, and they brought me to the University of North Florida.
a lot of basketball scholarships when I was coming out of high school. Some
were out-of-state, but I made the decision to stay in Florida to be close to
family. UNF was the only campus I visited that really felt like home to me. I
met with the coaching staff, and they introduced me to what my role on the team
would be. They also introduced me to the academic environment and brought me to
meet with my academic advisors. It made me feel like part of a family. I knew
then that UNF was the place for me.
student-athlete, I’m travelling a lot. My professors are completely
understanding of that and have been there to help me any way they can. A lot of
that comes down to UNF’s smaller class sizes. It really helps being able to get
to know a professor, get in contact with them and make appointments to catch
back up on anything I missed when I was on the road. Whatever is needed,
they’re there to help.
feeling is the same with UNF Athletics. It feels like a big family. We’re all close
with the other teams and go to their games to support them. They do the same
for us. It’s like we’re all in it together. A win for us is a win for all of
UNF. All of this has helped me get more
comfortable on the court. This year, I’m a starter playing in some big games
for a team that’s steadily improving. The coaching staff has been great about
letting me know my role and how I can help the team win. Whether that’s
rebounding, blocking shots or scoring when necessary, I’m there to do whatever
I can to keep us in games and help us win.
know what the future holds, but I would love to play professionally when my UNF
basketball career ends. There are a few NBA players who I respect who I try to
model my game after: Amare Stoudemire, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert and LaMarcus
Aldridge. They all have different skills that I’ve tried to develop on the
court. But even if that doesn’t pan out, I believe UNF is going to make me into
a person who is successful in whatever I’m doing.
back to what my mother told me, to work hard and stay committed to improving
myself. UNF has given me the chance to reach that goal, and I plan on spending
the rest of my time at the University staying motivated and going out there and
getting it — athletically and academically.