By: Sarah Mahaney, Loyola first-year
Loyola Sophomore Paxson Wojcik recently announced that his Loyola basketball career has come to a close and that he will be playing for Brown University in the 2021-2022 school year. Following the announcement of his transition, Wojcik shares his thoughts and experiences as a Rambler and how he expects his journey to evolve at Brown.
Many young athletes dream about the opportunity to play at the college level. For Wojcik, this was always true. He describes the ability to play college basketball as a “dream come true.” He said, “It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was young. Having this opportunity is something special.”
The journey of most college athletes begins long before they enroll. High school basketball is the first step to entertaining a professional career. Wojcik’s basketball experience started around the age of three and raised him to where he is today.
When thinking about his life before college, Wojcik was raised in an athletic household. Both of his parents were college athletes and his younger brother will be playing at Harvard University in the fall. He said “For as long as I can remember, sports have always had a big influence on me growing up. Whether it was watching sports or playing them, it has been a constant in my life.”
Being a college athlete comes with a lot of responsibility. All players are juggling at least 15 credit hours a semester in addition to 30 hours of practice a week. It was announced earlier in the season that Wojcik had the highest GPA on the team.
For Wojcik, being a college athlete is all about balance. He said, “The biggest thing is time management. Being able to stay on top of things. I try to do things when they’re assigned and get them knocked out.”
Wojcik shared a piece of advice that was given to him and is something he practices daily. He said, “If it takes an hour or less, do it now.”
Wojcik feels that his Loyola experience can be summarized as the power of team and unity. Loyola basketball is regularly commended for the high level of teamwork that goes into each game.
Wojcik said “Unity and communication are probably my biggest takeaways from the program, not only in sports but in all aspects of life.
Loyola’s defensive unity was often complimented during their most recent season. The team achieved major success in defeating #1 seed University of Illinois and ended the tournament with a spot in the sweet sixteen.
Loyola’s 2021 NCAA March Madness success was Wojcik’s first opportunity to appear in the tournament. From growing up watching it on TV to playing in Indianapolis last spring, being able to represent Loyola on the March Madness court was everything to Wojcik.
He said, “It meant the world to me. You always dream to be in this position. To be able to do that with some of my best friends and a team that I love was really remarkable and an experience that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
With many big changes on the horizon, Wojcik felt it was best to leave behind his career as a Rambler and transfer to play as a Brown University Bear.
Following Loyola’s sweet sixteen success, Coach Porter Moser announced that he will be taking the position as head coach at Oklahoma University. The transition in coaching in addition to the return of many of Loyola’s seniors for their final year of eligibility ultimately led Wojcik to transfer to Brown University. He said, “It’s a combination of some things. With the coaching change, the return of seniors, and the opportunity itself, I thought it would be best to look elsewhere in terms of being able to play and receiving a great education.”
Wojcik has had many opportunities in his basketball career and will continue to following his college basketball career.
When looking forward to life post-graduation, Wojcik wants to stay involved in basketball but is unsure of the extent.
He said. “I’ve considered entering the coaching profession or becoming a scout or an agent. But I know for sure that I might play a few years overseas after college, and once I’m done still staying involved in the game because it means so much to me.”