Getting to know Panthers basketball players Jeremy Hollowell and Willie Clayton

Willie Clayton Signal Archives

There are many obstacles one may face during their lifetime that can change their perspective on life While it is a given that everyone’s story indeed has a different ending, and beginning at times, college athletes share the experience of having their lives impacted by the game they so love.

In this case, college basketball has given many Georgia State Panthers hope of making a better living for themselves, whether on the court or off the court.

Although the game of basketball has influenced these athletes to pursue a career in the NBA since they were knee-high, it usually isn’t until they reach the collegiate level that they truly witness the impact from playing the game.

Perceptions of how much of an impact the game of basketball has affected their lives can vary from different athletes, but often players express how thankful they are to have the opportunity to lace them up and battle on the court with their fellow teammates.

Jeremy Hollowell and Willie Clayton discuss with The Signal their thoughts of how much of an impact the game of basketball has had on their lives.

Jeremy Hollowell

Signal Archives

How has playing sports on a collegiate level helped you in your life?

Jeremy Hollowell: It’s helped me tremendously. Everyone has different backgrounds, and basketball has allowed me to travel the world. Earning a scholarship and being a student-athlete puts me in a position to have a free education and get my degree.

How has playing sports in college help you become a better individual? Do you believe you would be the same person if you did not play sports while in college?

Hollowell: I think I would be a little different person. Playing college basketball helps you with time management, coming prepared to work hard every day and just balancing out a social life on top of that. It has really just helped me all around as a person.

Is it much tougher for you to stay on top of your studies in the classroom since you play sports, or do you feel as if playing sports has helped you become a more well-rounded and discipline individual?

Hollowell: It definitely helps you become a well-rounded individual balancing both of them (school and sports). It helps you manage your time in between class, practice and meetings. It’s definitely a good thing. I mean, you don’t want to have too much time on your hands, so it’s a great balance all the way around.

Describe your relationship with Coach [Ron] Hunter and how much of an impact he’s had on your life

Hollowell: He’s had a tremendous impact on my life. I spent a lot of time with them when I was younger with playing AAU [basketball] with RJ [Hunter]. My first situation when I went to college it just really wasn’t the best fit for me, and at times it could’ve really been taken away from me. Just him knowing me and what type of kid I am, he blessed me with a second opportunity, and I will forever be grateful for that.

Willie Clayton

Redshirt-senior Willie Clayton has been nominated for the Allstate Good Works Team.
Photo By Gordon Clark | The Signal

How has playing sports on a collegiate level helped you in your life?

Willie Clayton: It showed me that everything must be seriously. When you’re playing any collegiate sport, I think that you need to take it seriously to win a game because if you take anything for a joke you’re not gonna win life. So that’s how collegiate basketball has helped me in my life, to help me recognize that an education is as serious.

How has playing sports in college help you become a better individual? Do you believe you would be the same person if you did not play sports while in college?

Clayton: No, I wouldn’t be the same person because college basketball has brought me around so many people and so many different people with so many different personalities—and you learn to learn from different people. That’s what I’ve done with playing college basketball and in general.

Is it much tougher for you to stay on top of your studies in the classroom since you play sports, or do you feel as if playing sports has helped you become a more well-rounded and discipline individual?

Clayton: I’ve always been the type of person that’s always been on my academics. My parents stressed it when I was three or four years old, so academics is something I always stayed on top of.

Describe your relationship with Coach [Ron] Hunter and how much of an impact he’s had on your life

Clayton: Well, I’ve been with Coach Hunter for one year so far, and I have learned a lot from him. Coach Hunter is actually the first coach that I ever had to pretty much just tell me how it is. Over this one year we’ve got to know each other, I think he’s a pretty nice guy.

All aboard the graduation train

The Georgia State men’s basketball team has three seniors listed on their 2016-17 roster: Jeremy Hollowell, Isaiah Dennis and Willie Clayton.

Clayton graduated from Georgia State with a degree in sociology on Dec.14, 2016. He was also listed on the spring 2016 athletic director’s honor roll.

As for Hollowell and Dennis, both men will look to follow in the same footsteps as Clayton.

Hollowell is majoring in interdisciplinary studies, while Dennis is majoring in sociology.

Dennis was recognized as a top student-athlete. He was listed on the athletic director’s honor roll in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It’s also worth noting that Georgia State, since 2013, has produced seven Academic All-Americans, 201 all-conference honors and has a league-leading Graduation Success Rate.

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