Redshirts watch from the bench, waiting to play

Amanda Fulmer

Practicing three hours a day, lifting, going to class, watching films, learning not only your own team’s plays but the other teams’ plays and working just as hard as every other player on the team only to go sit on the sideline and watch come game day.

Welcome to the world of being redshirted.

Being redshirted in a collegiate sport, according to the NCAA rule book, means the athlete, at his or her coach’s request or at the fault of an injury, will sit out for an entire season. They still practice with the team and work just as hard as every other member of the team, but that particular year will not count in their four years of eligibility.

Three members of the Kent State men’s basketball team have been redshirted this year – Mike Mckee, Brandon Parks and Trent Morgan.

Being a redshirt is not a bad thing or a punishment. It gives players time to work on their skills and build for the next season. With the bar set so high from this season, these men have their work cut out for them.

Even though the three men aren’t in uniform at the games, they are still a major part of the team and a major factor in why this years team has been so successful.

“We run the other teams’ plays and defenses at practice,” McKee explained. “We get our guys ready for every game.”

Morgan added that the three of them do much more than that.

“Our practice is our game,” he said. “We spend way more time practicing than in a game. We are all are here to do a job, and it’s our job to get them ready.”

When the MAC Championship banner was presented to the team last Tuesday, every member of the team got to cut down a piece of the net.

“Even though we didn’t play, we still play with these guys every day so it was a good feeling to watch our teammates,” Parks said.

McKee added that it felt really good to celebrate in front of the home crowd that night.

“My favorite memory from the season is that night, winning the MAC Championship,” McKee said.

The three men are extremely excited for the tournament and have a lot of thought on who Kent State will potentially be facing, and also how far they will be advancing in the NCAA Tournament, if the Flashes get there.

Parks and Morgan said they are both expecting to see Akron again in the MAC Tournament Championship.

“We are MAC East champs now, we are going win the MAC Tournament and we are going to the NCAA Tournament,” Morgan said. “I can see Elite Eight again. Honestly, if we play the way we were playing when we went on that eight-game winning streak, playing on both ends of the court, I don’t see too many teams who can stop us.”

Parks, McKee and Morgan said they are going to miss this year’s seniors when they are gone, but are ready for the future. They have spent this entire year preparing to help carry the torch lit by this year’s team which will be remembered in Kent State history just like the 2002 Elite Eight squad.

Even with the standard set so high already, these men are up to the challenge.

“Next year we will make some noise,” Morgan said. “Everyone will hear about us. We will be better than ever.”

With the future in their hands, they said they will never forget what they learned their first year, with the lessons being taught by four seniors, who ended up being more like big brothers to their younger teammates.

McKee sums it all as an experience they will never forget.

“It was a hell of a freshman year,” he said.

Contact sports correspondent Amanda Fulmer at [email protected]