Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 13 No. 4 | March 2021

22 Inside Hokie Sports WB: I figure most kids probably don’t want to hear the same voice all the time, so to just hear a different voice, see a different face, it could be the same material, but that might make a difference in them hearing it. Recently, I talked to a middle school basketball team because they had their season canceled. I was just trying to cheer them up and get them looking forward to next year. And I tried to tell them to be grateful for every day. Q: What motivated you to earn your bachelor’s degree in just three years? WB: My AAU coach had a plan for me when I left high school. He knew I didn’t take school very seriously, but challenged me to do more with my life in college. He was like, see if you can graduate in three years. So, after my first year, I looked at my grades and Alise [Svihla, Associate Director for Virginia Tech Student-Athlete Academic Support Services] was like, you can do it, it’s just going to take a lot of work for you these next two years. So I just decided to take the challenge and did 18 credits the next few semesters and doubled up on my summer classes. It was a lot of work, I didn’t have much free time, but I ended up doing it and my parents were really happy with me. Q: What did it mean to you to be the first person in your family to earn a college degree? WB: It was really cool. It was another thing my parents never got to do being immigrants [from Ivory Coast]. They were really happy for me. First, they were happy because I was going to college for free and wouldn’t have to worry about student debt, but then to also graduate in three years, it just put a smile on my Mom’s and Dad’s face to see I could do it off the court as well. Q: Now you’re pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural and life sciences with a concentration in leadership studies. What led you to this field of study? WB: After my basketball career, I want to be a coach, so I think the concentration in leadership is the main part. I think it will help me be able to lead all different types of people. So, I just wanted to take on that challenge, read all those books, and learn how to motivate people and lead people in different ways. Not everybody likes to be pushed in the same ways and you have to be able to bring the best out of people in different ways. And I think having that versatility is helping me on the court now. Q: What’s an example of how your studies are helping you on the court now? WB: There’s something called the KIA theory…it talks about how everybody problem solves in a different way. The biggest thing is that people are adaptative and some are innovative. Innovative people are more the think-outside-of-the-box, more creative people, and people who are adaptive are more black and white -- they like structure. So, I can’t tell a person who’s an innovator, ‘OK, follow this strategy right here,’ because it’s kind of like putting them in a box. They need to be able to do things their way, where adaptive people need more of a plan. Q: What’s the key to you all having success on the court as you move through the final months of the season? WB: The biggest thing is just defense and rebounding. If we can control those two things, I think we’ll be in a good spot in any game. We know we can’t go point for point with many people in the league, but if we defend tough and rebound, we should be in a good spot in every game. Q: What’s your favorite part of being a Hokie? WB: It’s just the family atmosphere, I think that’s the biggest thing about being here. Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus in Blacksburg? WB: I really like Bruegger’s Bagels at Turner Place. Q: A lot has changed during the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s one change you hope sticks around in a post-COVID world? WB: Well, I hope people were doing this before, but please just continue to wash your hands. Learning to lead on and off the court Continued from page 21