Living the Dream

1 decade 1 month 3 weeks ago Monday, October 22 2007 Oct 22, 2007 Monday, October 22, 2007 5:36:56 AM CDT October 22, 2007 in Sports
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It's what Mizzou's walk-ons have to do before they even make the team that prepares them for their role. These guys may be playing at Mizzou Arena, but they aren't on the team yet.

"I've wanted to play college basketball forever."

"It's just something I've always wanted to do."

And that's a chance to play Tiger basketball and coaches offered walk on try outs for anyone who wanted that chance.

"The guys played hard, they did everything we asked them to do, they went the extra mile, I know they're tired right now, but they left everything on the court," said Missouri assistant basketball coach T.J. Cleveland.

And the court is exactly where these guys hope to be this season.

"I think everybody has that dream, I mean when you come out to walk on you want to help the team out, but its always in the back of your mind, hitting that game winning shot, and doing great things for the team as a walk on," said junior Douglas Oberbick.

There may not be a lot of famous walk-ons in sports history, but there is one that everybody knows about, so famous in fact, that they made a movie about him. A movie simply called 'Rudy'.

Well Mizzou might not have a Rudy, but there is a walk-on that made the team three years ago.

"It's so intense, and they put you through so much work, so you're nervous, and then you're breathing hard, and it just all piles on top of each other, everything that they do in walk on tryouts, it kills you, you know, you're dying the whole time, like God I just want this to be over with and I just want to know that I made it," said Missouri senior guard Nick Berardini.

He's even made it into a few games, while the crowd cheers on in similar fashion to what made Rudy famous.

"When the crowd is cheering for you, you know, it makes you a little more nervous, because you know that a lot of them maybe stuck around to see you and Mike Anderson, Jr. And some of those guys get out there and get some well deserved playing time," said Berardini.

Playing time is a bonus though. A walk on's main task is to improve the rest of the team.

"The better that I am on the floor during practice, the better that Jason Horton or Stephon Hannah or Matt Lawrence, or Keon Lawrence, these guys are going to be during the game, because I'm pushing them to a higher level during practice," said Berardini.

No matter how much playing time Berardini gets this year, its the experience that will last with him forever.

"No matter what happens, it takes a lot just to show up, and you know, I've made a career of showing up, and that's something that you can be proud of. That you had the courage, and you know, the passion, to do something that's really difficult," said Berardini.

Something difficult, but rewarding.

Berardini scored his first career points against North Carolina A&T last season.

None of the students that tried out made the team this season.

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