Simmons College of Kentucky basketball players featured in NBA TV special
A college in downtown Louisville is in the national spotlight for how it mixes sports with education.
LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) – A college in downtown Louisville is in the national spotlight for how it mixes sports with education.
Simmons College of Kentucky was featured on NBA TV’s “Beyond the Paint,” which profile’s the school and how it coaches its basketball team.
On Wednesday night members of the basketball team and Simmons’ faculty met at DiOrio’s Pizza on Baxter Avenue for a watch party.
“I was excited, because ain’t nothing like this ever happen to be in my life,” said freshman basketball player Cornelius Watts.
The cable series caught wind of the rebirth of Simmons basketball in 2016 under direction of Butch Beard and Jerry Eaves. Both University of Louisville greats played and coached in the NBA and now mentor student athletes from the small historically black college.
It’s the unconventional way the school teaches sports that caught the network’s attention, replacing professional player dreams with a real world reality check.
“Learn how to handle failure. I’d rather us lose than win," said Jerry Eaves, head coach at Simmons. "I tell them all the time, because everyone thinks they’re going to be a pro player, and that is the misconception."
Simmons President Kevin Cosby says the NBA TV profile focuses on the academic side of athletes and life after graduation. He viewed basketball as the bait to mentor players who otherwise may not attend school.
Sports is simply an outlet for Simmons students. They're all walk-ons with no athletics scholarships handed out.
“We’re not focusing on the NBA," Cosby said. "We’re focusing on MBAs."
That’s OK with Watts, whose biggest dreams are off the court.
“I know I am not going to the NBA or overseas, so I see it as me getting my education for physical therapy,” Watts said. “I can always say, ‘Have you been on NBA TV? Because I have.”
To watch the NBA TV story on Simmons, click here.
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