For any college athlete, the balance between sports and academics can become a hassle. With intense training schedules and long road trips, athletes are expected to maintain a good GPA while performing at their best. This is something the Georgia State men’s basketball team has addressed head-on.
With discipline and hard work, the team has made significant strides academically. In fall 2019, the team had an overall 2.98 GPA, the highest of any men’s basketball team in the program’s history.
So how has the team been able to break records in the classroom?
For the players, they make the most of their time to study. Twice a week, they have a study hall. Here, players meet with tutors to better learn the curriculum of their courses and tackle any schoolwork that piles up throughout the week.
In addition, the players also have the academic advisers’ office at their disposal. The office allows players to join forces to study, do homework or just give each other academic advice.
Junior guard Kane Williams works very hard in school. But it was not always like this. Despite slacking off for his first two years, the communications major has increased his GPA to a 2.8.
Williams has dedicated more time in the classroom to ensure his success on the court. He goes to study hall twice a week and also studies in the academic advisers’ office three times a week.
“You make time for what you want, and I want to get a degree, so I make time for that,” Williams said.
Another player who studies hard is redshirt sophomore guard Justin Roberts. His major is speech and communication and his minor in African American studies. As a freshman, he made the Honor Roll in the 2017-18 academic year at DePaul University.
At the start of every week, Roberts creates a schedule reminding him to complete his studies. To complete this schedule, Roberts has created a specific study strategy tailored around his hectic sports schedule. While simple, taking notes and studying them for 10-15 minutes has proven very effective for Roberts.
“My [parents] always stressed [academics] in my household,” Roberts said.
Head coach Rob Lanier is incredibly proud of his team for their extreme focus on their academics and for taking their studies seriously.
“I’ve seen so much improvement in our guys since last summer that I don’t know if it would be fair to call out just one individual, as … some guys have tougher majors than others,” Lanier said. “We are proud of the work all of them are doing.”
For Lanier, Williams, Roberts and the rest of the men’s basketball team, there is one goal: a Sun Belt Conference Championship. However, beyond basketball, the goal is bigger. Come to college as boys, but leave as well-educated men.