In the Life of a Student Athlete

By: Courtney Beck

Q and A with Tyler Ellis

The life of a college student can be stressful and time-consuming. For student-athletes, it can be a bit overwhelming at times trying to be successfully for academically and athletically, but for NMSU women’s basketball player Tyler Ellis, it is apart what makes her the blue-collar worker she is.

Tyler Ellis is currently a senior at NMSU and is a power forward for head coach Mark Trakh and the women’s basketball team. The 6’2 senior from Sacramento, California is ready for the upcoming season that begins November 11 against San Jose State, but is also in the midst of taking on her last year of studying before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.

Family Life and Support:

“I have a twin brother named Isiah. He is about 6’9 now, he is currently playing basketball for Chico State University. He has been a big reason why I am playing basketball. Growing up, I hated sports, but he was the one that was always in basketball, football or volleyball–anything he could be active in. When I was in seventh grade, I started to play basketball at a competitive level. He taught me everything he knew. He was mainly a defensive player, so my brother is who I get my style of play from. I am more of a defensive player than a scorer, but when I need to, I can score. My brother is a big supporter of me. My mom is also a huge supporter of my basketball and academic career. She did not play sports at all, but she was single mom and raised my brother and I by herself. She taught us to never give up and to always go for the bigger goal in life, and that was (in high school) to get a scholarship to play basketball and we both did it.”

Tyler on her Study Habits:

“I can not work in my bedroom, at all. I feel like I will just fall asleep, because I am always tired from practice, weights and classes. So usually after practice, I will just go upstairs to the coaches’ office to do my homework and stay there as long as I need to. I do not like studying in the morning at all, I am a night person so I am usually there late doing homework.”

Would it be easier if Tyler was not a student athlete?

“Yes of course it would, because sometimes I feel like I do not have time for anything. If I was just here for school, it would be easier because I would have more time to study and go out and socialize. There is more discipline in being a student athlete and I feel like it builds character. It has helped me build character since I have been here. Everything changed when I became a student athlete.”

Has being a student-athlete provided you with necessary life skills that you will need in your profession?

“Yes it has. I want to be a college coach one day because I love basketball so much. Being an athlete on a team, you learn so many things, like how to cope with people and how to handle confrontations, because not everybody will get along in life. I also learned how to get through adversity. I have learned about how to work different personalities by being apart of the team.”

How does the basketball program help with develop their players in their academic success?

“We have study hall usually three times a week, but we do not do it in the Fulton Center with the other teams. Our coaches like to monitor us, so we actually do it here (inside the Pan Am) in the coaches’ office. A lot of the girls go to Lynne (a team tutor) and she helps us a lot. We do make use of the Fulton Center tutors and they help us out a ton as well. They really helped me excel in my accounting class, because that was not easy. My tutor for that class was amazing. Coach Trakh also helps girls who are taking government classes. He knows everything about that subject, so he tutors them.”

Tyler Ellis’s advice for current and new coming student athletes:

“I am always giving advice to younger athletes who are still in high school about just being in college while being a student athlete. What I tell them is that this is going to be the hardest thing you have ever done. Coach Trakh told me that when I first got here. I did not know what he meant by that until I got to the first day of practice, because I had to start managing everything (school, practice, sleep, and social life). I say to remember to stay calm, everything will be okay. It is hard, it is a lot of work, and you have to stay on top of everything. Time management is very important as well.”


Catch Tyler Ellis and the rest of the NMSU women’s basketball team, as they will start their season on November 11 in the Pan American Center against San Jose State at 5:30 p.m.

Author: nmsuroundup

The student voice of New Mexico State University since 1907.

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