Life is about learning, adjustments and perseverance. And the jump from high school to college can be a giant leap or a small step depending on where you are landing, what your goals are and how busy your schedule looks.
For Dexter’s Derek Seidl, college has been a giant leap of learning, adjustments and perseverance. While he’s hitting all his shots in the classroom, the former Dreadnaught basketball standout continues to try (perseverance) to find his stride and more importantly his place on the basketball court.
The 6-3 junior guard appeared in 15 games as a freshman and averaged 7.5 minutes per game on the court at Lawrence Tech University. Off the court, he was the team’s superstar, carrying a team-high 3.89 grade-point average. This past season, he averaged 10 minutes in 30 games with 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds.
“The biggest adjustment off the floor was probably learning to manage my time,” said Seidl, who played three years of varsity basketball and two years of varsity baseball for the Dreads. “Having a class schedule that changes from day to day is a different experience than the routine that high school puts you in. This, along with homework and practice, ensured that I quickly get used to the changes that college brings.”
Seidl, 20, is majoring in mathematics and computer science – not exactly “basket weaving” that some athletes major in while attending college. He’s had a very successful two years in the tough classroom at LTU.
He picked Lawrence Tech because he was looking for “the opportunity to continue my basketball career while not sacrificing my education,” he said.
He saw Lawrence Tech as a great fit.
“They have the high academic standards as well as their recent addition of a basketball team (basketball was brought back to Lawrence Tech in 2012-2013 so he was part of the third recruiting class),” he said. “LTU offered the type of education I was looking for and as well as a chance to step in and compete on the floor right when I got to school.”
The 2014 DHS graduate was All-SEC White First Team as both a junior and senior year. He was honorable mention as a sophomore.
Taking that game – along with the other challenges – to college is, well, challenging.
“There have been a handful of challenges that I have come across as a college athlete,” he says. “The first thing that comes up is missing classes for games. Many of our trips even in conference play are two to three hours away so many times that leads to missing class. This is always a challenge, but especially in college when many classes only meet twice a week.”
There also are stretches of the year where the workload can become tough to handle around practices and games which forces Seidl to handle my time as well as possible and make sure that I can get everything done.”
The well-spoken, hard-working Seidl admits that his first season on the floor was a bit bumpy.
“The adjustment process took a long time for me,” he said. “Looking back it was a great thing for me to go through. I quickly realized that I had to work as hard as possible constantly or I would be left behind. No longer being one of the taller and longer guys on the floor presented many challenges that I did not expect.”
He didn’t play much that first year and the team struggled too, going 3-27.
“That first season was a huge learning experience for me,” Seidl said. “I learned that even the parts of my game that I leaned on in high school had to get a lot better in order for me to have a chance to be successful at this level.”
“I realized that the release on my jump shot was way to slow and my passing and ball handling were not adequate to deal with the faster pace that the even small college basketball brings,” he said. “More than just the physical aspects of the game, I learned a ton about how to deal with adversity.”
For the first time in his life, Seidl wasn’t starting and he wasn’t even in the rotation. He had to try and find ways to contribute to the team even when he knew he wasn’t going to get on the floor.
Having that first year under his belt “helped a ton.”
“I knew what it took to play at this level and what I needed to work on,” he said. “This helped and I was able to compete for a spot in the rotation. I played in all 30 games during my sophomore season averaging 10 minutes per game and hitting 17 threes. I was able to make improvements off my first season, but did not make as big of a jump as I would have liked.”
The team continued to struggle, finishing 6-24.
Basketball has always been a major part of his life – and that’s been his motivation. It’s something he’s not ready to let go of.
“I love to compete and you only get to do it athletically and for a school for so long,” he says. “On top of that, having lost over 50 games the last two seasons is something that drives me and that I hope to play a role in changing. Also, our goal of making the WHAC tournament for the first time is something that motivates me. I very badly want to be able to say I was a part of the team that was able to make that happen.”
It all comes back to learning, adjustments and perseverance
“Something that I have come to realize with college athletics and specifically small college athletics is that people tend to lose interest,” Seidl said. “There are a lot of other things that you can choose to do when you are in college and as I learned firsthand, athletics can be tough and really tests your drive and commitment because of the new challenges it presents. I pride myself on taking on those challenges and doing everything I can to overcome them. I feel that this helps me not only become a better basketball player but also a better person. And I feel I can use those experiences later in life to get through other challenges that come up.”