The NCAA Tournament's Best Students: Illinois's Trent Meacham

Illinois guard Trent Meacham has mastered the art of being a student-athlete.

Trent Meacham—University of Illinois
Trent Meacham—University of Illinois

Illinois guard Trent Meacham has mastered the art of being a student-athlete. After a year at Dayton, Meacham transferred back to his home-state school, where he has earned Big Ten All-Academic selections the past two seasons. Because he had to sit out his sophomore season, Meacham graduated with a bachelor's degree in sports management in August and started in on a master's degree in human resource education while playing in his last season of eligibility.

Being a Division I athlete at a major conference basketball program, how do you balance schoolwork and hoops?
Time management is very important in balancing academics and basketball. Academics are my first priority, so I make sure to finish all of my assignments and attend all of my classes.

Where do you go when you need to buckle down and get some work or studying done?
When I need to get my studying done, I lock myself in my room and make sure the television is off, or I go to the student-athlete academic center.

Are there resources available at Illinois to help student-athletes stay on top of school work?
Illinois has great academic resources. They have one of the best academic centers for student-athletes and tutors available for any subject.

You graduated in August 2008 with a degree in sport s management. Why did you pick that specific concentration for your bachelor's degree?
I chose to concentrate on sports management for my bachelor's degree because sports have been an important part of my life thus far, and I'd like to continue to be involved with the sporting industry in some capacity in my future.

What made you choose human resource education for your advanced degree, and what kind of career path do you plan on taking once basketball finishes for you?
I chose human resource education because I wanted to have a lot of options available to me as far as future careers. I am not currently set on one particular career path, but it is important to me that my future career involves assisting others.

What's the transition been like from undergraduate to graduate school while still playing basketball?
My graduate classes and classmates are very different, but the transition as far as workload hasn't been difficult. The biggest difference is making time for more group work.

Last question: What's your schedule like when the conference and NCAA tournaments come around and school keeps going? How does the increase in the basketball workload affect your school work, and how do you deal with that change?
Basketball is going to be at the front of my mind during these tournaments. However, I make sure my schoolwork isn't impacted by communicating more with my teachers and continuing to complete my assignments.

Corrected on : Corrected on 04/09/09: An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled the last name of Illinois basketball player Trent Meacham.