After finishing my freshman year at the University Of The Pacific in Stockton, California I have a different outlook on the way the game of College basketball is played in the USA.
I left to start the next phase of my education and basketball in California at the end of June 2016 a few weeks after completing up my A levels. I was extremely excited and also a little nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.
It had always been a dream of mine to play D1 basketball and it was finally coming true.
Apart from the normal, during my freshman year I did not experienced any crazy periods of homesickness. I put that down to the fact that I was always so busy, as soon as I arrived on campus I was immediately enrolled into a summer school class.
However coming from England where the standard of A levels was so high, the first year of American education work load for my Business major business was manageable.
Normally, the summer training schedule is limited to a set amount of hours a week, however due to a team tour of Italy planned for August 16, NCAA allow teams taking foreign tours additional hours on the court.
This is when I got my first real taste of what the level of weights and practice would be like at a Division 1 basketball college. The Italy tour lasted 2 weeks where we played against an Italian women’s teams alongside visiting places like Rome, Florence, Venice, and Lake Como. It was a one in a lifetime experience!
Once school started managing time to eat, train, study and get enough sleep was key.
A typical day would be 7.00am weights, breakfast, and class at 9.00am followed by team practice every day for 2-3 hours and then back to class.
The training load was definitely an increase from when I was back home, but it was expected and I enjoyed the challenge. The supporting staff and recovery equipment provided so much assistance making sure that I was able complete the training to the level that was required. The ice baths were no fun at all but really make a difference!
Playing time is what every player wants, but in reality coming in as a freshman the main focus has to be committing to getting stronger, getting better and simply waiting for your opportunity to play.
In my case towards the end of the season everything began to fall into place, adjusting to the speed and physicality of the game takes time, however I personally feel that I improved throughout the year and had a great end to the season.
Overall the experience of a student athlete lifestyle is one of kind, managing time, workload and the very little social life is challenging, but in the space of a year I have visited so many new places and made friends that will last a lifetime.
I look forward to the years to come!