Thanks to UC Davis men's basketball's Neal Monson, Darius Graham and J.T. Adenrele for giving us some insight into what it's like to be an Aggie student-athlete.
"It's about being a student off the court and on the court."
(On what it means to be an Aggie student-athlete) Neal Monson: "It means being an athlete who is both focused on academics and intelligent, but also someone who strives really passionately in sports."
Darius Graham: "It's about being a student off the court and on the court. The players and the coaches here work very hard to make sure we cross our Ts and dot our Is with everything. Whether it's me prepping before the game, playing the game before the game, just trally trying to prepare as much as I can. We can't control the results all of the time but we can control everything else. I just try to be there for my teammates if there are questions and at the same time, I ask them things because they're doing the same thing. We're all very invested in this program and in the continued success of this program."
(On Neal's decision to transfer to UC Davis) NM: "One of the reasons I chose this institution was for its academic ranking and prestige. To come here you can’t just be a good basketball player. You have to be both a student and an athlete. All of the young men here, my teammates, are both of those things."
(On teammates) NM: "We're not just basketball players."
"More than just the academics, the relationships that I've been able to build have really made this time in my life incredibly enjoyable and something that I'll look back with fondness for the rest of my life."
(On description of team) DG: "I'd have to use the quote, 'By all means necessary.' We find a way to get wins. With all of the game-winners and the close shots we've had so far, we've found ways to get the last couple points. We have a lot of grit. Hard-nosed. We probably won't be the most talented team on the court player for player all of the time, but we have to use our teamwork and work together to put together the win."
J.T. Adenrele: "On the court: gritty, gutsy. Then after we'll have fun."
(On gratest lesson learned at UC Davis) JA: "Follow your heart. For student-athletes, it's hard making the transition from a sport to a career. My coaches have told me to follow my heart. They say you'll know what you want to do if basketball is what you'll want to pursue and if it's time to call it quits, you'll know it's time to pursue something else."
"There's always going to be that family tie to this team, to this locker room, this arena, this campus."