By James Davenport, a senior team captain on the St. Mary's College of Maryland men's basketball team
Growing up being an athlete, you always dream of making it to the professional stage. By the time you get to high school, you may start to realize that playing professionally is a bit ambitious. Once you start looking for colleges, all you want to do is play at the Division I level. As you get older, many of these things are put into perspective for you. You start to realize that there are people bigger, faster, and stronger than you and they are the ones who get these opportunities. And then you have schools that show interest in you from the Division III level. Doesn't sound as promising does it?
Yes, I wanted to play in the NBA. Yes, I wanted to play basketball at the Division I level. But when I realized that none of these were going to happen, that did not change the fact that I was good enough to be a college basketball player somewhere. For me, it wasn't about whether I was good enough or not, or being able to tell my friends that I played Division I basketball. I was completely content with just simply playing basketball. Being a Division III athlete is one of the best opportunities that I have been given in my life.
One key advantage of being a D3 athlete was time consumption. Even though basketball took up the majority of my time, especially in the middle of the season, I was able to still make the most of my time here, both socially and academically. Being that SMCM is a smaller school, I was able to have a group of close friends. I was able to gain great relationships with my teachers. Most of all, playing basketball here not only brought our team closer, but the school united together and grew closer as a whole. That's what college is all about. Being a D3 athlete has allowed me to develop certain skills that I will use throughout my life. Basketball can only take me so far, but it's what I learn while I am here that will benefit me in my future endeavors.
Being a D3 athlete has been one of the best experiences of my life. If I could go back and do it all over again, I can't say that I wouldn't make the same decision. This is my D3 experience, and I can confidently say that it has been one of the best experiences of my life.