Brad Buckman: Graduation day
When Brad Buckman finished his college eligibility in 2005-06 by leading the Longhorns to the "Elite Eight," he left The University of Texas with aspirations of playing in the NBA. But the road was anything but smooth, and it seemed like he kept hitting road block after road block.
First, a series of unforeseen events prevented him from playing overseas in Europe. Then, after one season with the Austin Toros, the San Antonio Spurs' NBA Development League affiliate, Buckman sustained a knee injury that required surgery.
As he began his rehabilitation after the surgery, Buckman turned his negatives on the court into positives off the court and returned to school. As a result, Buckman will graduate today from the College of Education with a B.S. in applied learning and development.
"The surgery was unfortunate, but it let me come back to school," Buckman said. "I've been able to get healthy and finish school, something I've dreamed of but didn't think would happen so soon."
"When we recruited Brad, one of the things that was really important for both his mom and dad was that he not only play college basketball at Texas, but that he graduate from UT like they did," Texas head coach Rick Barnes said. "Brad has had to work really hard, but he's taking advantage of his time away from the court because of injury. He's been very mature in understanding that this was a great opportunity to finish his degree."
"Everybody loves Brad and we all are cheering about his graduation," senior associate AD for student services Dr. Randa Ryan said. "Brad's desire to come back and complete his degree is a great statement about Coach Barnes and The University of Texas. Completing his degree is a wonderful accomplishment for Brad."
After Saturday's commencement exercises, Buckman will officially be a UT alum, continuing the tradition of Longhorns in his family.
"My family is really excited about my graduation, so it's good to finish school and be able to now focus solely on basketball," Buckman said. "Graduating feels good, and it's been long awaited."