Thursday, November 9, 2017

Brown learns life lessons with Asbury hoops

For Bailey Brown, playing college basketball at a seminary school has taught her valuable lessons about life, God and the things in life that are truly important.

Although Asbury – a four-year multi-denominational university  located 20 minutes southwest of Lexington in Wilmore, Ky. – is perhaps best known for producing clergy, it’s provided an even broader faith-based foundation for a former Crittenden County basketball player.

Brown just started her senior season as part of the Asbury Eagles basketball team. She scored 13 points in the opener, which was a loss for her team. Brown has twice played in the NAIA National Tournament with her squad, advancing to the second round of the Division 2 tournament as a sophomore. 

During her collegiate career she’s balanced faith, fun and education and it’s been tough at times.
“I won't lie, it's so hard. There have been some semesters I've balanced 18 hours of classes, basketball and two part-time jobs,” Brown said.

In the summers she’s gone on mission trips, twice to Nicaragua and last year to Puerto Rico.
“My entire college experience has made me grow up so much, so I'm thankful for those times,” she said.

Brown says Asbury isn’t your typical basketball school. The university doesn’t bill itself as a destination for aspiring hoops stars.

“Asbury is a school that puts very little emphasis on sports, and that was kind of good for me. I definitely have grown up a lot and put my focus on other things like school and my job,” Brown said, who is working for a technology firm in Lexington.

“I still wake up at 6:45 a couple days out of the week to get shots up with one of my teammates, but I do know that there is life beyond basketball, and it is approaching quicker everyday,” she said.

Her job is in tech marketing which is right up her alley. Brown, the daughter of Gina and Jamie Brown of Marion, is studying marketing and Spanish.

“I chose to minor in Spanish because I know in my future I want to go on mission trips to Latin America, so I wanted to be prepared. I chose marketing because everything we do involves marketing. We market ourselves when we interview for a job. Every occupation and business requires marketing. It just so happened, thanks to my awesome business professors at Asbury, that I was introduced to a job opportunity for a digital marketing company. I didn't really know much about digital marketing, but I knew I could learn.”

She’s been offered a chance to start her career with Summit Digital Marketing as a search engine optimization specialist.

“I interviewed and got the part-time job that I work right now. I have an unofficial official job offer for when I graduate and I am so thankful I am not having to stress about finding a job after graduation while playing basketball,” she said. “It was definitely a God-thing. Things just really work out that way when you work hard and take advantage of the opportunities God gives you.”

Brown says her most rewarding season on the basketball court was her first one when she played in 33 games for the Eagles, starting four and averaged 10.7 minutes per game and scored 111 points, had 34 assists, 22 steals and 27 rebounds.”

“Back then, I was a kid who only cared about basketball. The summer before my freshman year, I spent every day getting about 1,000 or more shots up with my dad. Since then, I have still had incredible seasons and experiences, and I have played at least some in every college game at Asbury, which is such an accomplishment to me,” Brown explained. “Some people get a reality check when they go to college because in high school, they were the best ones on the team, but in college, they are middle of the pack.”

As her basketball career has evolved alongside maturing as a person, Brown has found that her focus has changed. While basketball is still important, a life of faith, family and her future are now paramount to sports.

“I came in with some seniors who were hungry to win a championship and a new coach who definitely knew the game. That year was just so fun, I got to play some serious competition,” she said.

“I would say the greatest reward is being constantly reminded that this is what I've wanted to do since I was five years old,” she adds. “Most kids who are asked what they want to do or who they want to be when they grow up change their minds five or six times before they even get to college.
I have literally known from when I first started playing that I wanted to play as long as I could. It's actually cool that if time travel was real, I could go back to my five-year-old self and make her proud because I've done what I've said I would.”