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Student-athletes at Drury have discovered it is possible to have a successful season and a good semester—just ask any member of the men’s basketball team.
Ten of 17 members of the team come from the Breech School of Business. They see each other often in the classroom and on the court. Most of the players come to Breech to study business because of the school’s reputation, like sophomore Drake Patterson.
“I decided to become a Breech School of Business student because of the tremendous reputation,” Drake explains. “I am also not positive on what job I would like to pursue after college so I thought that a degree from a prestigious business school like Breech would give me the opportunity to choose a job that I would enjoy.”
Other student-athletes study business at Breech because they hope to start a business. Senior starters on the team, Brandon Lockhart and Alex Hall, came to Breech for this reason.
“I chose to become a Breech student because it’s one of the top business schools in the area,” Brandon says. “I also would like to own a business at some point in life.”
Alex adds, “I decided to be a Breech School of Business student because I am interested in owning my own business one day.”
A lot of players find that being a student-athlete is a challenging experience, but as business majors, they also receive support and encouragement from their professors in the Breech building. Some players may find that their professors are their biggest fans, like Dr. Robin Sronce and Dr. Janis Prewitt.
“I am a big fan of Drury basketball. I have season tickets and try to attend as many games as I can,” Dr. Sronce says. “It is a lot of fun to see the students on the court.”
“I go to all of the games, I’m a season ticket holder, sit four rows up, and I’m on my feet the whole game and have no voice after the game—it is fun,” Dr. Prewitt adds. “I sit with my husband and a couple of other faculty and, since we know the students, we really have fun at the games! I went up to the Rockhurst game this year and I think the players really appreciated it.”
Professors at Breech, like Dr. Michael Shirley, work with student-athletes often so they don’t fall behind in class.
“I have great appreciation for the talents, commitment and efforts of our student-athletes, as well as other student groups who practice and perform with such skill. We have such talented students here,” Dr. Shirley says. “I try to offer help and support for any work missed, and remain flexible as schedule issues come up, offering alternative assignments or make-up work that allows the student to have success in both endeavors.”
Brandon, who double majors in marketing and management at Breech, has worked with his professors to stay on top of his studies.
“There have been many challenges since a lot of school days are missed for traveling. But all the teachers are pretty understanding when it comes to this,” Brandon says. “There have been many nights where getting two or three hours of sleep is a win. There have been trips when we get back at three or four in the morning and have class at eight or nine in the morning. But being a student and playing basketball at the same time has helped improve time management skills.”
Junior Shane Rudman, a marketing major, agrees that there is a struggle when balancing academics and basketball, but he emphasizes the importance of getting his degree.
“It’s very challenging to say the least. You always have to juggle school and basketball,” Shane says. “I feel like a lot of people looking in feel like we don’t have to go to class or do homework, which is totally wrong. Maybe if you are the next LeBron James and going into the NBA but not the rest of us. Most of us don’t go professional in basketball so it’s incredibly important to go get a degree. Overall though, it’s fun; you always will have something to do and I’m the kind of guy that embraces challenges.”
One thing that Drake likes about Breech is that the players support each other during the semester.
“I also really like that there are so many other athletes in most of my classes, it reassures me that if they can do it, then there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to do it either,” he adds.
Because of the small class sizes, the players also get to know the other students and faculty well. Brandon explains that he likes the family-like atmosphere in the Breech building.
“It makes meeting other students easier and building stronger relationships,” Brandon says. “Teachers know students by a face and name because of the small classes. Now that I am in upper level classes, I know mostly everyone in the class since I have taken many classes with them throughout my years at Drury.”
After graduation, some players hope to continue playing basketball, others are thinking about graduate school, and the rest, like Shane, would like to go into the workforce.
“Not everything is set in stone yet but I do have a couple options right now. I may go follow my dad’s footsteps and work in the company that he became really successful in or I may use one of the many relationships I’ve made through Drury and take one of those routes. Right now, I have been working in my father’s company that works in the financial services industry,” Shane explains. “All I know is I feel I have a great future ahead—an exciting future—and the Breech school is a big part of that.”
This season, the men's basketball team won the NCAA Division II National Championship in Atlanta, Ga. against Metro State on Sunday, April 7, 2013 with a score of 74-73. They finished the season with a record of 31-4 and have recently been invited to play an exhibition game against Duke University's Blue Devils during the 2013-2014 school year.