Columbia College men's basketball team emphasizes academics
Most basketball teams in the country lose players to the pros, but Columbia College faces a different dilemma.
"This past year we had players graduate in three years and they went on to get their Masters in business accounting at UMSL, so now my joke is the University loses guys to the MBA," said head coach Bob Burchard.
It's problem Burchard is proud of.
"We really focus on getting our guys to the highest level in a lot of areas. Not only athletically, but certainly in their academic pursuits," he said.
Take junior guard Zach Rockers.
He is a first-round draft pick in the classroom, receiving nothing less than As and finding balance in the life of a student athlete.
"There are other things at the highest level of myself and that's not just on the basketball court but it's off the court too. And I think that is one thing he has really instilled in me," said Rockers.
In the last 25 seasons 75 cougars earned All Conference academic honors and 19 received All-American honors.
Last year the Cougars went 35 and 1, the most wins in a program history.
"We just have to keep trying to build from what we did last year, try to keep it going. Hopefully get an undefeated season again but if not we are just going to take it ever game the best we can," said senior guard Derrick Dilworth.
"I just think the whole college experience is very important and athletics is only one part of that experience. Obviously academics is what is going to carry us all when we drop off this athletic pyramid. Eventually you have to be a smart person," Burchard said.
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