The beauty of words is hidden in their unique meaning to each one of us. One word can mean so much or so little. When asked to give three words to describe himself, Julian listed dedication, self-motivated and passionate.
If you were to ask Julian why he would start with, “anything you give water, grows.” For Julian Bassett, this quote is not only a testament to his life but also now his life’s mantra. Being motivated and passionate enough to stay dedicated is the water that has transformed his life. Adapting these characteristics is directly responsible for the growth Julian experienced over the last nine years of his life.
Julian, an only child, grew up in North Little Rock, McAlmont street to be exact. A neighborhood he describes as poor and not short of struggles. Julian was raised by his mom and recalls her working extremely hard to provide a way out for him.
In 2008, Her hard work began to pay off when Julian received a 4- year basketball scholarship to Henderson college. However, this was only the beginning of Julian’s nine-year rollercoaster journey of college.
After only a year at Henderson Julian lost his scholarship as a result of low grades. He admits that he was unfocused and distracted. Despite this, Julian decided to take classes at UALR. It was through these classes that basset connected with the then Basketball coach Cunningham.
They came up with a game plan for Julian. Coach Cunningham, advised Bassett to attend Southern Union State Community College and work on his grades. After which he would return to UALR to complete his degree and play basketball.
Things began looking up for the aspiring NBA player. However, after only one semester at Southern Union State, Basset got kicked out.
“Oh man, would you believe I acted a plum fool out there?” Julian explained. “I was strong-willed and rambunctious. I got into a fight with one of my teammates and my coach kicked me off of the team.”
Determined to make a career out of basketball, Bassett took a loan out and went back to Henderson college. In his junior year at Henderson, Julian’s coach moves to philander smith college; and Bassett and the new coach didn’t see eye to eye. Julian decides to flow his old coach to philander.
Despite the bumps, things finally began to look promising.
“I’m focused now; you’re [were] either going to find me in the gym or in class,” Bassett said. That year Julian made the dean’s list and average 15 pts a game.
Sadly, for Bassett, all that went down the drain. The coach he left at Henderson charged him a full year of eligibility, despite not playing for Henderson that year. This meant that Julian was no longer eligible to play college basketball. He dropped out of college on the cusp of his senior year.
“Basketball was over with and I went to a very, very, very dark place,” Bassett admits.
This was rock bottom. He was so close but missed yet another opportunity to accomplished his dreams.
Julian got a job moved back in with his mom.
“Man, I had to go back to real life, to poverty. I tried to accept [that] I’m a failure, [and that] this is going to be my reality. I couldn’t.”
After two years of facing reality and saving to come back to school, Julian enrolled at UALR.
“When I came to UALR as a student [not an athlete] that was hard,” Julian admits. “[As an athlete] you know we’re gone a lot so, I am used to having notes given to me. Now I have to write my own notes. That transition was rough”
Julian decided to take one class per semester so that he could ensure success this time around.
Fast forward to today, a total mind shift has occurred.
Basset credits his success at UALR to the communications department. He recalls that from day one they were extremely helpful and made the transition from student-athlete to a student, a whole lot easier.
“Dr. McIntyre gave me a taste of success” Julian explained. “She made me feel like a winner.”
Life really began to change for Basset when he discovered a theory called the ‘The Coordinated Management Meaning (CMM) method’ in a class taught by Dr. Driskill. This theory breaks down the common phrase ‘birds of a feather flock together’.
“That’s when the lightbulb came on. I am not going to be a basketball player; I need to be a college graduate. So, I need people in my life that are college students, that study, that work.”
Dr. Driskill pushed Bassett to work harder.
“I found myself treating school like how I treated basketball ‘cause somebody challenged me,” Basset said.
From that moment on, Julian has excelled at school, at work, and in life.
“Sometimes it takes a lot of failures for you to learn how to succeed and be great,” Julian explains. “Failure builds that tenacity, that aggression, that self-motivation, that dedication that you need to succeed at life.”
Bassett is on track to graduate this December with his bachelors in Applied Communications. He also had a series of promotions at work and looks forward to a cooperate position awaiting him after graduation.