Editor's Note: Cal Poly men's basketball players write an original piece for each game-day program on which they're featured on the cover. Junior guard Maliik Love, who has appeared in all 24 games this season and is shooting 39.5 percent from the floor, is the featured Mustang for Cal Poly's Thursday, Feb. 20 matchup against Cal State Fullerton.
Perspectives of an Upperclassman, by Maliik Love
Being a fourth-year student-athlete yet having junior class eligibility provides a lot of insight. It also makes me appreciate every day I spend with the team because I only have one season left after this year. After playing the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, I redshirted last year and the sequence of events has provided me two different perspectives on our team. The first perspective is that I was projected to be in this year's senior class, but I won't have the opportunity to play with Kyle Odister, Chris Eversley, and Jamal Johnson after this season. The second perspective is that I'm still an upperclassman with the power to influence our younger players in a positive way.
This year's senior class has provided a great example of the roles that I'll need to fulfill as a senior myself next season. Throughout this year, their mindsets have adapted and reflected a superior knowledge that comes with being an experienced senior. This has been highly inspirational for me due to the fact that leadership is a virtue that must be taken seriously. The previous senior classes have set the bar high so I would expect nothing less from our current seniors.
Respect is something that isn't given, but earned. Being an upperclassman on the team places me in the position to show the young guys the ropes. I recall being a freshman like it was yesterday and I had no clue that there was so much more to learn about the game of basketball. Young athletes usually come into college narrow-minded and do not realize that there's a bigger picture. It is my job now to lead by example and become a respectable role model. Personally, I look at the situation this way: a team is only as good as its weakest link. So, if I'm not sharing my insight with my teammates, I'm acting somewhat selfishly. Our team would not be in the most successful position it could be.
There is never a limit on how much knowledge one can gain if effort is put in. I'm blessed to have had such amazing prior influences. A legacy is something that will continue on with time. No matter what the end results are, a positive legacy is what I look forward to leaving behind after the 2014-15 season.
Image courtesy of Alexander Bohlen