Remember the NCAA commercial that says, “There are over
360,000 student-athletes and just about all of us will be going pro
in something other than sports?”
“That’s exactly (who I am),” Michigan
basketball freshman Alex Brzozowicz said. “Obviously,
I’m not going to play in the NBA, and I’m not looking
for a career in basketball. I wanted to be a small part of
Brzozowicz played for St. Ignatius Catholic Prep in Chicago
— and averaged 18 points, five rebounds, two steals and two
blocks — before he took a shot at walking on to play
basketball at Michigan.
The 6-foot-3 guard took an unconventional path to make the
basketball team. The Michigan coaches were familiar with his game
before the season began, and he was allowed to participate in open
gym practices, as well as lift weights with the team. He
didn’t have to experience a traditional walk-on tryout like
fellow newcomer Hayes Groom did a couple of weeks ago.
Michigan boasted a dual threat that was enough for Brzozowicz to
turn down offers from Division III schools such as Loyola
University-Chicago and Illinois-Wesleyan.
“I wanted to come to (Michigan) because it has such a good
(basketball) program, and it is such a good school
academically,” Brzozowicz said.
Brzozowicz considered enrolling in the School of Art and Design,
but he has decided that he wants to study architecture instead.
“I’ve always loved architecture,” Brzozowicz
said. “My grandfather was a structural engineer, and
I’ve always wanted to follow in his footsteps. (Ron Coleman)
is my roommate, and I have pictures all over the place, on his door
and my door.”
The transition from high school to college basketball,
Brzozowicz admits, has been a bit difficult. But he is thankful
that his more experienced teammates have helped him develop.
“I’ve messed up as a freshman,” he said.
“We did this drill that I got wrong like eight times in a
row. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and then Dani
(Wohl) pulled me aside and helped me and was like, ‘This is
how we do it.’ ”
Brzozowicz did play in Michigan’s 60-43 exhibition win
over Michigan Tech. And when he received the ball, the Crisler
Arena fans and the basketball team rose to their feet and cheered
for a shot attempt, but it never came.
“I think the most (attendance) we ever got in high school
was 2,000,” Brzozowicz said. “When you come (to
Michigan), you have 9,000 watching an exhibition game. It’s
the big time. I love it here.”
Michigan has four other non-scholarship walk-ons on its roster:
John Andrews, Ashtyn Bell, Hayes Grooms and Dani Wohl.