Every athlete has a story, and I love being the one to tell it.

One of the main reasons I love sports is because I love the stories. Whether it’s a team’s story to a championship, the story of an individual athlete or an off the field story, I enjoy hearing about them. But more importantly I like telling them. I plan to continue telling as many unique stories as I can, but for now, here are a couple examples of features I’ve done in the past on college athletes:
Ryan Huxtable
Ryan Huxtable was the type of high school football player that you expected to do great things. He was named second team all-state, first team all-city and was a finalist for the “That’s my boy” award. He was also honored as the Wendy’s High School Heisman Representative. Needless to say, everyone knew he could go on to play college football, it was just the question of where. With an impressive list of options, including many Ivy schools, Ryan chose the University of Chicago. He has since graduated, and looking back on it he couldn’t be happier with the decision he made.

What schools from other divisions were interested in you/did you consider going to?
Brown, Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Middle Tennessee State, Davidson, Indiana

Why did you choose to play at Chicago instead?
Chicago offered me the perfect combination of academics and the opportunity to play the sport I loved. It also had the major that I wanted (economics) and was close enough to home that my family could still come to games. The University of Chicago provides an education at or above an Ivy League level and prepares students for life after college.

What were you able to be involved in at Chicago outside of sports?
Campus Crusade for Christ, The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta, Stork Investment Partners

What do you think were some benefits of playing d3 instead of a higher division?
As a D-3 athlete you are there for an education, not an athletic career. Not one person on our team had a misguided dream of playing in the NFL. However, sports at any level in college prepare you more for the real world than any class ever could. It teaches you how to be regimented, multi-task, leadership, team-work, etc.

A lot of people say D3 is just an extension of high school sports, how would you compare the competition levels between the two?
As a whole, D3 athletics are better than high school, but you will get some “superstars” in high school that you won’t see in D3. Teams are better prepared and have more complex game plans that you won’t see in high school athletics.

How do you think your academics were affected by going D3?
Academics always come first at The University of Chicago as well as the majority of D-3 schools. Classes, study groups, and labs were never missed due to practice or meetings. Coaches were very understanding when classes or tests conflicted with practice.

What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?
Healthcare IT Consulting

What was the highlight for you of your college career?
Beating Washington University sophomore year and winning the 2005 UAA Championship.

Did you have any regrets about not playing in a higher division?
None at all.

Cassie   Pruzin
Cassie Pruzin
Indiana All-Star, participant in the North/South All-Star game, All-State Selection, McDonald’s All-American nominee… and she chose to play Division III basketball. Surprised? Well, Cassie Pruzin decided there was a lot more to her than basketball and she wanted to take advantage of everything that DePauw University had to offer. Don’t get me wrong; just because she was doing many other things, basketball never went away. In college, Cassie was, along with many other honors, ranked second in school history in career three pointers made and attempted, named an All-American and was a part of the 2007 National Championship team. So let’s find out why Division III was the perfect place for her:

What schools from other divisions were interested in you/did you consider going to?
Throughout my high school career, my coach prepped me to be a Division 1 athlete. I was sent to many camps and spoke with many Division 1 college coaches. I dreamed of going to the University of Notre Dame but soon realized my talent and size was not good enough to make it at ND. I started to be more realistic and started narrowing in on mid-major schools in the Midwest. I basically ruled out schools located anywhere besides the Midwest because if I played I wanted my family to be able to attend my games. I got looks from schools such as Bowling Green, Ball State, Akron, Toledo, Butler, Western Michigan, etc. I’d say the MAC conference was recruiting me the hardest but I wasn’t really interested. My junior year of high school, I decided I really wanted to go Butler. I went on an official visit and to a couple games, but when it came down to it they said I was too small (not strong enough). It broke my heart and I decided basketball wasn’t for me until I found out about DePauw.

Why did you choose to play at DePauw instead?
Like I said before, I wanted to go to Butler University, and when I found out I couldn’t I was lost and unsure of what was ahead of me. I put a halt on the recruiting process and stopped making visits to schools. In my mind, I was over basketball. Until my brother convinced me to meet Coach Huffman at DePauw University, I was going to be just a student at Indiana University or Miami of Ohio. I fell in love with DePauw’s campus and the feeling I had when I was there. I realized that if I went to DePauw, I could have a satisfying and complete college experience.
One of the main reasons I did not like any school in the MAC was because of the lack of academia. If I could no longer play basketball, I did not know if any of the schools in the MAC would be a fit for me academically or socially. I knew DePauw was for me because it was a school I could see myself enjoying even if I decided to end my basketball career. Also, I knew DePauw had a great basketball program and we had a chance to be very competitive in Division 3.

What have you been able to be involved in at DePauw outside of basketball?
Throughout my time at DePauw, I was an active member of Alpha Phi sorority. I was the Director of Finance for two years, and a member of the executive counsel for one year. I was a part of student friend, a community service organization that reaches out to the unfortunate children in Greencastle. Other than that, my time was devoted to basketball and my academics, as well as making time for my friends.

What do you think have been some benefits of playing d3 instead of a higher division?
The main benefit was my education. DePauw puts a large emphasis on student-athletes and makes sure we are putting academics before our sport. This is something I think you miss out on at a D1 school. Also, I believe I had a greater opportunity of succeeding at D3. I was able to be a key member of the National Championship team and recognized as an All-American, something I could not have achieved at a D1 school. Basketball wasn’t my life. I was able to focus on other things than just basketball. Being a D3 athlete allows you to find yourself as a person, not just an athlete.

Many people say d3 is simply an extension of high school sports, how would you compare the competition levels between the two?
I do not believe d3 is an extension of high school basketball by any means. In high school, you had girls who didn’t love basketball. They played because their friends played, parents made them, or because they thought it was a fun hobby for the time being. They were not necessarily the most athletic or competitive group of people. However, college is much different. On my team, every player was the best player on her high school team. When you start creating collegiate teams, they are compiled of athletes who want to extend their career because they are superior athletes or have a strong work ethic and desire to play basketball. The level of competition is much greater. D3 athletes typically lack one essential asset that would make them a successful D1 athlete. For example, a D3 athlete may have all skills necessary but may lack height, strength, speed, or court sense. Not all high school athletes can compete at the collegiate level. The game is much faster and more competitive than it was in high school.

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One thought on “Every athlete has a story, and I love being the one to tell it.

  1. Every athlete has a story, and I love being the one to tell it….

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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