By Jeremiah Washington
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
The life of a student-athlete can be exhausting yet exhilarating, with the combination of the balancing and juggling acts of practice, games, school work and personal life that can make any circus tightrope walker or a juggler juggling three hoops blindfolded cease in comparison.
Texas Tech freshman Jordan Tolbert will admit the transition from high school to college is "hard", but the 6-7 forward is handling it with ease.
"It's not that hard, I kind of have gotten used to it," said Tolbert. "We have tutors to help us with any class we need help with. We just really do not get that much sleep."
The lack of sleep may be why Tolbert opts over a crazy pre-game ritual and instead chooses to take a nap before every game on game day.
"I take a nap before every game," says Tolbert.
Tolbert hails from Fort Worth, Texas where he played high school basketball at All Saints Episcopal, earning all-city, all-district, and all-area honors as a senior.
While Tolbert may be a pro at juggling many different demands as a student athlete, he will also admit the transition from high school basketball to college basketball has been the hardest he has ever encountered.
"It's hard," said Tolbert. "When I first got here in the off season we were running five miles at five in the morning and were lifting weights at six in the morning. It was way harder than I have ever worked."
The pregame naps and tough practices have seemed to work like magic for Tolbert, as he has become an early force for the Red Raiders. Tolbert has five 20-point games thus far, leading the Red Raiders in scoring, including two 27 point games, his highest of the season against Cal State Bakersfield and future Big 12 competitor TCU.
The TCU game in early December has been Tolbert's favorite game this season as he got to travel back to his hometown and was welcomed with a section of family and friends cheering for the Red Raider.
"It felt good to be home," says Tolbert.
Despite the early success and spotlight Tolbert has received in his first season with the Red Raiders, the young athlete insists he is just like any other college student and at times can be a bit shy.
"I am down to earth," says Tolbert. "I'm real quiet. It may not seem like it but I really am to myself."
On the court, one would never guess there is a shy side to this monstrous player, who has electrified the crowd with his haring rising, leaping dunks, which also excites him as well.
"It excites me when I get a dunk," says Tolbert. "It gives the team momentum. When we are down it gives us momentum and picks us back up."
Big 12 conference play will be another thing that will ignite Tolbert on the court, which is slated to tip off in January. Tolbert is eager and ready for the competition of the fellow conference teams.
"The competition is going to be way more competitive," he said. "Better players. Better teams. It's going to be a bigger crowd. It's going to be tough."
Tolbert feels the pressure surrounding him as conference play approaches and is preparing himself to be the best player he can be.
"I feel pressure," said Tolbert. "But I have a good coach and I have good teammates. I am going to try to play as good as I can, hard as I can, and be the best teammate. This season I want to shock some people and beat some teams people think we wouldn't beat."
Tolbert plans to prepare himself after the work ethic of the biggest inspiration in his life, which happens to be his mother.
"She really motivates me," he said. "She's worked the hardest. Anything I want she will just work to get it done no matter what. I always know that she has my back so I just try to go out there and work like she does."
As the Red Raider basketball season progresses, Tolbert looks forward to add many more wins to the Red Raider tally.
"My favorite moment is every win - every win we get," said Tolbert. "I look forward to getting more wins."