For Hanson and Morley, a Thursday night drama

Senior roommates share a joy for the OC

In the life of a college athlete, there is not much free time outside of athletics and academics.

However, two seniors on the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team have found the time to fit their favorite television program into their busy schedules.

For the past two years, Thursday nights never come too soon for Clayton Hanson and Zach Morley. Because on Thursday's at 7 p.m. its time for The OC.

Zach Morley

Since the first airing in the summer of 2003, Morley and Hanson have found themselves hooked to the show and rarely miss an episode despite their hectic lives.

"We watched the first night it was on for some reason over the summer when we were here for workouts," Hanson said. "It's was a new series, thought we'd check it out and we have been hooked since. I don't know what it is, but it's addictive for some reason. It's got a little something for everyone."

Morley agrees with his roommate Hanson. The attractive females and the relationship drama are reasons the two cite for their obsession with the show.

"It's just one of those shows where if you watch it, you just kind of want to see what's going to happen next. It hooks you," Morley said. "It's a soap opera for the younger crowd."

Like many at the same age as these two senior basketball players, they try to schedule and rearrange their priorities in order to meet the time of the show. However, for Morley and Hanson that is sometimes out of their control considering the team regularly holds Thursday practices running until after 7 p.m.

"These late practices are killer. I haven't been up to date as much this year — catch it here and there and hope that someone tapes it, but he [Clayton] might have followed it a little closer than me this semester," Morley said.

Indeed, Hanson has.

He credits his ability to catch the show after practice to friends that regularly tape and systematically label every OC episode.

"We have that local OC tape guy because we're here [practice] now," Hanson said. "He definitely saves us when it comes to watching the show."

As the second season of The OC comes winding down, the two must also face finishing up their collegiate basketball careers. Which is more emotional, the two were reluctant to admit, however they each smiled and acknowledged they'll take the time to cherish both, especially the latter.

For Hanson and Morley, Saturday's match-up with Purdue will be the last time they play in front of the home crowd at the Kohl Center. They know they will have to battle the emotions and sadness in having to say good bye.

Hanson, the former walk-on, has traveled a long way on and off the court to reach the maturity level he is at today. After committing to head coach Bo Ryan and the UW-Milwaukee program his senior year in high school, the Reedsburg native forgave his scholarship and tagged along with Ryan to Madison to join the Badgers.

Willing to pay his way through college the first three seasons, Hanson's hard work and determination in and out of the classroom paid off as he was given the scholarship left behind after Devin Harris went to the NBA at the end of last season.

"It's pretty satisfying looking at how far I've come and knowing that I'm not quite there yet and there is more things to be done," Hanson said. "It's going to be an emotional time but now it's just a matter of preparing for the game. Afterwards when my family is there, it will be a little sad but I'll just be happy and proud to have my family out there and have recognized for everything they have done in helping me get to this point."

And all along, Hanson has continued to improve his game to the point where he has started every game in this his senior season.

Playing hoops at this level of competition is something he says he will always remember, but there are also the specific memories he says he'll never forget.

"There has been a lot of them," Hanson said. "Obviously the Big Ten title games and the tournament games. Freddie [Owens]'s shot in the Sweet 16 and almost all the games against Michigan State. Over the past four years, we've had a lot of good games."

Morley, the former junior college transfer, recognizes the chance he was given to compete in the Big Ten as one of the things he's most thankful for.

After playing at Indian Hills Community College for two seasons, the Missouri native transferred to Wisconsin before his junior year and had to deal with a completely different type of atmosphere.

"Basketball made the transition easier," Morley said. "It was the one thing I knew that would stay the same. It's obviously a different system and different players, but it's still the same game."

Morley looks forward to having his family at the game Saturday in large part because it will be one of the few his entire family will have gotten a chance to attend.

In all, for these two seniors, who are the closest of friends, their different paths have led them to one common ending: finishing their collegiate careers in the Wisconsin uniform.

Well, make it two common endings.

It's hard to forget The OC.

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