Atchley always achieves, on and off the court
Dr. Randa Ryan, the senior associate athletics director for student services, can't help but smile when someone mentions Connor Atchley, the center/forward from Clear Lake, Texas, who is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for December.
"Connor is a perfect example of a student who really has grown up in our program," Ryan begins, talking about the senior basketball player.
"That growth is seen in his academic pursuits, as well as his work on the court," she added.
Coach Rick Barnes, likewise, appreciates the 6-10 young man who ranked third in scoring, second in rebounds and was tied for the lead in blocks as December began.
In the Longhorns' Dec. 2 63-61 win over No. 1 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, Atchley scored 9 points (including a key three-pointer down the stretch), grabbed four rebounds and added a steal and two assists in 31 minutes of work.
"Connor is probably better than he thinks he is," Barnes said following that performance, which typified Atchley's start in the 2007-08 season as he has raised his scoring average and his field-goal percentage.
Atchley explained that his approach to basketball and his academics is very similar.
"On the court, you follow the coach's instructions," he said. "In the classroom, you follow your professor's instructions.
"You give 100 percent all the time. Your effort has to be the same every night on the floor and the same every day in the classroom."
The latter has allowed the senior to earn Academic All-Big 12 honors, as well as earn a spot on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll.
"Each year Connor has continued to mature and increase his academic accomplishments," Ryan noted. "He will graduate this spring, completing his studies in corporate communications with a GPA above 3.0."
Atchley was honored when Ryan informed him of his selection as the Male Student-Athlete of the Month.
"It means a lot because at a place like Texas, there are many student-athletes qualified to be recognized," he said. "At Texas, you have to be a student as well as an athlete. On the road, you may get back to the hotel late after practice and you may be tired, but you have to sit down and make sure you get your work done for class."
Atchley is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and participates in many community service and civic activities.
"I so admire Connor's positive approach," Ryan said. "He is positive in his approach to school, to basketball and to his own personal set of responsibilities. He is a remarkable young man."