Founded in 1983, the NCAC is commited to equity, a broad base of athletic programs, and excellence in academics and has served as a model for conferences throughout the country. The North Coast membership stretches across Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana: Allegheny, Denison, DePauw, Hiram, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wabash, Wittenberg and Wooster and affiliate member Earlham.
Every two weeks, Oberlin College men’s basketball player Hal Sundt will be writing a feature story for goyeo.com. In his first feature, Sundt sits down with fellow teammate Andrew Fox and provides you with an inside look on the life of the star forward and how he plans to bounce back from some recent adversity.
It’s 12:51 p.m. I’m late.
Oberlin College sophomore Andrew Fox is alone inside a room on the third floor of Mudd Library - the same library that his father, Frank Fox ’80, studied in 20 years ago. His 6-foot-3 200-pound frame is hunched over a textbook that already bears his highlighter and pen-in-the-margins graffiti only four days into the new semester.
“Can we meet at 12:45 on Thursday afternoon?” Fox asked me a few days before our interview. “That will give me time to re-read my assignment and take notes before class.”
He doesn’t acknowledge my presence as I walk into the room, persistent on finishing his note-taking before our interview begins. Fox fills each hour of his day in order to maximize both his efficiency and his output. If he has a break in the day he might head over to the library to do some extra readings, or stop by the gym to fine-tune his shooting touch as a guard/forward on the Yeomen basketball team.
“You’re late,” he says with a smile. But his smile quickly morphs into a look of panic. “Is this being recorded? I hate being recorded.”
True to his word, Fox stumbles over his words for a minute or two while he gets used to the tape recorder. “What was the question again?” he asks.
Fox is a Politics major and is working towards a minor in Middle East North African Studies. He spent the past summer working for Oberlin alum and former mayor of Washington D.C. Adrian Fenty’s re-election campaign. While garnering support his most enjoyable part of the experience was talking to potential voters face-to-face.
“In the mornings I stood on a particular street corner and I would talk to every person getting off buses, every person at a bench or a bus stop,” Fox explains. “I talked to people when they rolled their windows down in the car. My job was to just talk to people.”
When Fox talks he uses his hands. While explaining the intricacies of the re-election campaign he opens up both his palms, raising and lowering them as he speaks, as if balancing all of the ideas racing through his head. His enthusiasm is expressed through movement: raising his eyebrows, widening his eyes, leaning forward and standing up.
His passionate nature has served him well during his time at Oberlin. Having already left a lasting impression over the past summer and in the classroom, he attributes much of his success to his experiences on the court. As a student-athlete trying to maximize his college experience, Fox can’t help but bestow praise on the upperclassmen of the basketball team.
“I think that there is some degree of guidance and counseling,” Fox says. “I’m very fortunate that the basketball team has a lot of guys that are really smart and they’ve done a good job of being supportive of taking the toughest classes and really challenging yourself.”
Oberlin 58, Allegheny College 58. 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Andrew Fox has the ball at the top of the key with a chance to give the Yeomen the lead.
“I remember getting the ball with about 10 seconds on the shot clock and I thought it was probably go-time,” Fox recalls. “I drove and I felt like I had the first guy beat and I saw the help coming over so I kind of slid in front of the guy that I’d beat so that if I jumped or if he jumped it was definitely going to be a foul.”
With the ball in the hands of one of the best scorers in the conference, the Yeomen must have felt confident that Fox was going to score, and thus lead his team to victory. But as he prepared to go for his shot, he fell to the ground.
“I went to plant and do a little pro-hop into the guy to go up. When I did the little hop my knee just buckled,” Fox recalls.
He would not return to the game. Fortunately, the Yeomen pulled away from the Gators to earn an overtime victory. The ride home, however, was bittersweet. Uncertain of his status for the upcoming game, Fox did his best to remain positive.
“On the bus ride home I convinced myself that it was just a sprain because I’m a big believer that positive energy and positive thoughts can help with things,” Fox explains.
Unfortunately, an MRI revealed that Fox had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. The diagnosis meant a premature end to his sophomore year and a rigorous rehabilitation process. True to himself, however, Fox maintains a positive outlook on the situation.
“This will force me to work on getting physically stronger,” Fox explains. “I’m optimistic that I’ll be back at the beginning of next season.
My bet is that Fox will approach his rehabilitation as fiercely as he does his on-court workouts and as diligently as he does his schoolwork. For the guy who crams as much into 24 hours as he possibly can and hates the word potential (“If potential doesn’t grow and improve then its nothing.”), it’s the only way he knows how to do things.
The Oberlin College men’s basketball team will conclude their 2010-11 season this week with road games at Hiram and Wabash.