Walk-on and Work-aholic

As a walk-on with the Marquette University men's basketball team and a direct-admit physical therapy student, junior Tommy Brice is getting the most out of his Marquette experience. MarquetteHoops.com's Jeff Wolf caught up with Brice for this Q & A....

Few people on Marquette's campus are as driven as junior Tommy Brice. The 5'11" guard from Bloomingdale, IL was a manager his freshman year and has spent the last two seasons as a walk-on. But not only is Brice paying his own way through college, he is also part of Marquette's prestigious physical therapy program. That means he is in the midst of a rigorous six-year course track that forces him to take sixteen or more credit hours every semester in addition to several full loads in the summer during the last two years of the program.

MarquetteHoops.com caught up with Brice during the recent awards banquet.

Brice on whether his walk-on status affects his off-season workouts:
"I work out with [the scholarship players] all the time. We all have individual workouts. The only difference is if they get extra time scrimmaging five-on-five while I'm in class. Then I have to come in and do extra cardio on my own. Other than that everything that I do is exactly the same."

On his basketball focus this offseason:
"Personally, getting in shape… I might not be on scholarship as an elite athlete like everyone else, but my own conditioning is something that I can control. And I know that if I'm in the weight room every day and spend time after on a treadmill or a bike everything else will fall forward after that. And obviously shooting and ball-handling are things that I always want to try and get extra time in for, be it after class or whenever I can."

On whether he could see himself in this situation coming out of high school:
"I really didn't. I only got calls about basketball from small division III schools – Rockford [IL] College and such. I really wanted to play here when I was younger. My sisters went here. It was something on my mind but I didn't really think things would turn out like they are now."

On why he decided to come to Marquette:
"I don't want to say it was basketball, although probably deep down it was. I made it into the physical therapy program and a lot of the schools that were interested for basketball either didn't have a physical therapy program or I didn't get into it. And I did really want to play here, so once I got in I knew that's what I wanted to do."

On his plans for continuing to play basketball:
"I have two more years of eligibility, but I'm pretty sure next year will be my last one. It'll be a pretty tough one because it's my first year of grad school. [In Marquette's PT program the final year of undergrad studies and the first year of grad school overlap.] Senior year will be my last year."

On how he balances basketball and his education:
"My freshman year I struggled a lot because I had 17 credits and 18 credits my first two semesters while managing. It takes just as much time [as playing]. Those guys work rally hard, and I did as well. And when I played I knew it was going to take up more time, so the summer before I took summer school classes on my own. Last summer I took two of the tougher classes that were available for physical therapy: Physics 001 and 002. This summer I'm going to try to take Physiology and hopefully get another job along with working summer camps at the Al so I can pay for it, and that will lighten up the load a little bit. I'm going to struggle with some anatomy classes, but I know it's all going to work out in the end. I'm able to see that. I know I'm not going to fail."

**Jeff Wolf is a sophomore-to-be majoring in Advertising.

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