February 14, 2017
The Scribe interviewed freshman forward Geoff Kelly from the men’s basketball team to find out what it’s like to be a college athlete at UCCS. The business major provided some insight into how he balances school, work and sports, and his transition into becoming a college athlete.
Q: What has your first season as a college athlete been like?
A: It’s definitely been a learning experience. All the guys have been great; the coaches have been amazing. I’ve loved every second of it, but it’s been a big change from high school. In high school, you have practice after classes for an hour and a half, maybe two hours at most.
Here, you have practice almost every morning at 6 a.m., then you have to go to classes, and then you have study hall afterward. It’s definitely a big time commitment. Once you get your schedules and routines figured out, it becomes easier. It’s never easy, but you learn to adapt.
Q: How many hours a week do you spend between practices and games?
A: Usually, we (practice) around two to three hours every morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Then we have individual workouts as well, which last about an hour, so probably 10 to 12 (hours) actually playing.
Q: How do you balance school, work and playing in away games?
A: You have to just grind through it. We drive to all (of the) away games, so you have to take your books and computer. I stay up on the bus rides and try to knock out as much homework and study for as many tests as I can.
The coaches really reinforce that school comes first, so we have study hall twice a week. They make sure that we keep on top of our stuff because if we can’t get it done in the classroom, we can’t get it done on the court.
You have to take responsibility, and you can’t use basketball as an excuse for not getting stuff done.
Q: What did you do to prepare in preseason training?
A: We had weights every morning four times a week. We focused on lifting weights and doing some conditioning.
Coming in, I had heard from some of my friends who went to different schools that conditioning was awful, that their coaches killed them every day. So I was kind of expecting that coming in, but after the first workout in the preseason, you could tell that’s not how it was going be.
We’ve definitely seen everyone grow from that point, including myself. It was just getting adjusted to that, but it was great to have some guidance.
Q: What has been the biggest difference between high school and college athletics for you?
A: The game itself is different – just the speed and athleticism. In high school, there are a lot of players who can play the game pretty well, but you don’t see 6-foot-2 kids and up in high school.
(A couple of the guys and I) played in a league over the summer that helped me get it down and kind of adjust to the speed. It’s definitely different playing against a bunch of guys that are three, four or five inches taller than you.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
A: Keeping my confidence high throughout the season. I always have to remind myself that there is a reason I’m here, with how much time I put into the game and all the effort we put into the thing we love. I have to remind myself that I’ve been in here working every day, and I’m a good player.