Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Grats, Bryan Mullins and Other STUDENT-Athletes

When I joined the faculty of SIU Carbondale in the fall of 2004, one of my principle worries, as someone who had never been at a DI school, was how student-athletes would impact my classroom. I need not have worried, as SIUC is one of the schools which does, in fact do things correctly. Overall, student-athletes performed, on average, at the same or a better standard than my other students. It was late in October of my first semester that one of the students in my 200-level World History class presented me with a form indicating what days he would miss as a result of away basketball games. I had a scholarship men's basketball player in my class without knowing it. I was also contacted occasionally by the athletics department when students did poorly, but the conversation was always along the line of 'What does this student need to do to improve' rather than the 'We really need this athlete to play, what can you do' which is all to common at other schools.

I also had a hotshot freshman point guard in my fall 2005 History 101 class by the name of Bryan Mullins. It was unclear to me then, as it still is now, whether his talent in the classroom or on the basketball court is greater. And it is with great satisfaction that I congratulate him on being named a second team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American, the second SIUC men's basketball player in two years to receive this honor:

Junior guard Bryan Mullins was named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team on Tuesday. Last year, Jamaal Tatum was also a second-team member. Mike Glenn was a first teamer in 1976 and 1977.

Mullins is one of the most improved players in the Missouri Valley Conference this season. He is the team's third-leading scorer, averaging 11.0 ppg, and ranks second in the league in assists (5.1 apg) and steals (2.1 spg).

The 6-foot-2 point guard has a 4.0 GPA and is majoring in finance.

"We are extremely proud of what Bryan has accomplished this season on the court and throughout his career as a student-athlete," said head coach Chris Lowery. "He is an excellent ambassador for our program and our University."


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