Columbia College Cruises on the Court and in the Classroom
COLUMBIA -- The number one ranked Columbia College men's basketball team is undefeated at 24-0. The Cougars can do more than just play basketball, though. High flying dunks, ball movement, and three pointers all have lead to Columbia's success.
Whether it's hitting the hardwood, or hitting the books, Columbia College has had an amazing season. Perfection on the court and off; Zach Rockers, Tanner Sutton, Hal Payne, Djordje Mraovic, and Walker twins all had a 4.0 gpa last semester.
They're battling the stereotype of being dumb jocks.
"Yeah that's true, partially true, but we are trying to prove that it is not true every time," Mraovic said.
"Here at Columbia College we really take our education seriously. I mean most basketball players go to school to play basketball. We're here to do both," Blake Walker said.
The players say that they are proud of their time at CC both on and off the court.
"To say is one more important I certainly don't want to go there to be quite honest. The 4.0 I feel like is something that I'll be able to carry with me forever. But also a perfect season at least so far that's something that nobody can take away so they're both at the top of my priority list," Payne said.
"When I look back at this and I want to tell my kids I'd rather tell them we had a perfect season than I had a 4.0. But what's really going to be more beneficial to them is that I had a 4.0. It's cooler to say I had a perfect season, but a 4.0 is probably better in the long run," Sutton said.
"The 4.0 will take us further. We realize we're not going to be NBA players but we are excited about whatever we've done this season. We're also excited about our 4.0s. They're going to get us a job, we're going to get paid a pretty decent salary one of these days and it's going to pay off," Brock Walker said.
"Oh man that's a real tough question. You know I think short term if we get this undefeated season hopefully we can keep it going you know that's pretty cool. But you know in the long run the real reason that we're here is for education. That's going to get us a job in the future so that we can have a family and be able to provide for them," Rockers said.
Columbia teacher Michael Polley had three of the 4.0 players in his history class, a class that only one in six students get an A in.
"They're here to play obviously, but they're also here to study hard and earn a degree," Polley said.
Coach Bob Burchard thinks that his player's success in the classroom and the court go hand in hand.
"Well I really think that highly successful people figure out ways to get to the top and a lot of that has to do with your intelligence level," Burchard said.
They are a team on top of the basketball court and perhaps more importantly on top of their studies. The overall team GPA for the 15 players is 3.25.