CCI Student Focus: Student Athlete Inspires Fellow Players On & Off Court

By Emily Carle

Over the past five years, Kent State University’s Rodriquez Sherman has led the Golden Flashes Men’s Basketball team to 20-win seasons, back-to-back Mid-American Conference regular season championships all while maintaining a strong GPA and graduating in four years.

In August 2010, Sherman graduated from Kent State with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a concentration in organizational communication. Currently, he is working on his master’s degree in Exercise, Leisure and Sport with a concentration in sport management. Sherman is known for his positive attitude, significant work ethic and an overall great personality which all relates to his ability to manage the life of a student-athlete.

Sherman joined the Communication Studies program in 2006 after switching from business administration. Sherman liked what Communication Studies had to offer and how the discipline relates to basketball. “Being an athlete is like a business and you have to be able to communicate,” he said.

 “Being an athlete is like a business, and you have to be able to communicate,” Sherman said. Through his coursework, Sherman continued to get practice with communicating, “I was able to get past my fear of talking in front of people… I’ve turned into a great speaker even though I used to be nervous.”

From the classroom, Sherman applied his skills to the court. “With basketball, communication skills helped me develop a different role on the court. I was more vocal with my teammates and with my coaches and on the floor because I was able to speak fluently,” Sherman added.

Now that Sherman has fulfilled his goals as a student and an athlete, he is looking towards the future. Down to road, he hopes to stay connected with his love of basketball and work for ESPN as a sports anchor or as a coach. With his background in communication, Sherman feels confident about these job opportunities, as “communication is in everything we do; it’s everywhere… it all plays a part.”

Also in the Communication Studies program, Sherman found that fellow classmates and professors always understood his schedule, even when he would miss an entire week at a time.

“I had really good professors; I was always communicating with them and getting work done.” Through classmates, faculty and staff, Sherman “benefited from the program” and thoroughly enjoyed his time at Kent State. Specifically, he noted that Communication Studies faculty member and undergraduate advisor Rozell Duncan, Ph.D., was “wonderful and a great advisor.”

As a faculty member and undergraduate advisor, Duncan saw Sherman’s potential and recognized his commitment and hard work. “Rod applied himself not only to his academic work but as an athlete. I am confident he will do well in his graduate studies,” Duncan said.

 “It was my pleasure to be one of his instructors and help guide him along his academic path,” Duncan added.

With all of his hard work and perseverance during his time at Kent State, Sherman has learned a lot about what it takes to be a good student and is happy to pass along his wisdom to other students. A rigorous travel schedule and daily practice made it imperative to stay on task and master time management.

 “Stay organized. You’re not going to be able to deal with it all without being organized. Create an order, a plan. If you do that, you’ll be set,” Sherman advised.

Sherman’s academic success would not have been possible without his strong support system. “I would work while I was on the road and on the bus. I would get my assignments done ahead of time and stay in communication with academic advisors, athletic advisors and professors,” Sherman said.

 While not all students juggle demanding responsibilities of a being student athlete, many do stretch themselves thin to cover school, work, family and more, making it all the more important for students to have a grasp of time management and responsibility.

 Sherman, who is known for his positive attitude, significant work ethic and an overall great personality, shared this advice: “Take a deep breath, soak it all in and remember we were raised to get a better education.”

Sherman has been a role model not just for student athletes, but all students aspiring to do more while in college. Looking back, he only has good things to say about his time as an undergraduate.

“Kent State is a beautiful place, and it taught me a lot,” Sherman said. “A lot of kids come in and just think about basketball, but I made sure I had my degree so I would be educated. It was a big accomplishment. Communication Studies is a beautiful program inside and out, and so are the people here.”

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