David Lee is definitely making up for lost time.
An untimely broken foot the week before fall classes began in September proved to be a major setback for the veteran center, costing him the first four months of his senior year for healing and rehabilitation. When Lee finally returned to practice on Dec. 16, he helped restore order to the Linfield men’s basketball team.
“Since Dave wasn’t in the lineup, Zach Anderson had to play (power forward), which isn’t his natural position,” says Wildcats coach Larry Doty. “When Dave came back it, changed the dynamic of our team immediately.”
While the team was able to cope with Lee’s absence, his return undoubtedly helps to create a stronger presence close to the basket.
“He’s a big strong guy who has been rebounding like crazy,” says Doty. “Every day he brings a toughness to our team that we wouldn’t have without him.”
Through 11 games, Lee is averaging 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, both career highs. In a recent game against Pacific, he hauled in 15 rebounds, the highest single-game effort from a Wildcat this year.
In addition to tangible statistics, Lee’s teammates admire his effort and determination on the court each and every game.
“It’s like he turns on a switch from calm and laid-back to extremely focused with high intensity,” says guard Dakotah Pine. “Dave always has one thing on his mind, which is winning games.”
Unlike so many aspiring athletes who list famous celebrities or professional athletes as role models, Lee instead finds inspiration in the people around him.
“My friends, family and team make me who I am today. The positive criticism and reinforcement I receive from everyone makes me hold myself to a higher standard and never be satisfied with falling short of my goals.”
By taking on double duty as both a student and an athlete at Linfield, Lee has learned more than just X’s and O’s.
“I’ve learned how to manage my time well,” he says. “From being in practice to studying for school and even saving some time for personal interests, I found out that it is important to learn time management if you want to be successful.”
Lee expects to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. What comes next remains to be seen.
“I’m not certain about what is coming next,” he says. “I’m thinking about going to graduate school to get a master’s degree in strength and conditioning or nutrition.”
Although his future is not set in stone, as Lee enters the final stretch of his collegiate basketball career, one thing is certain. His learned time management skills, combined with practical and theoretical knowledge gained through his Linfield education, have prepared him well for whatever journey lies ahead.
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