There’s a lone disappointment for senior Grayson Eubanks when he thinks back to his freshman year at NC State in 2009-10. Having played basketball in rec leagues all his life and for Athens Drive High School, he figured he had the skills to make the NC State men’s club basketball team, which is different from intramural sports in that club teams make cuts.
It was a manageable first round of cuts, which annually includes more than 100 people vying for five-to-six new spots on the 14-man roster. But the second round was much more difficult, with skilled players each trying to make a name for himself. And at the end of the day, it was not meant to be for Eubanks, whose brother was on that team that went on to win the 2010 national club championship. “He gives me a tough time about it all the time,” Eubanks says.
Eubanks, who will graduate May 11th and pursue medicine at East Carolina’s Brody School of Medicine, made the team the next two years. And this past year, he served as the club’s president. He says that role has helped him cultivate leadership skills that extend beyond the out-of-bounds lines on a court.
“With a lot of 21- and 22-year-olds and with a lot of people who have played high-level basketball, everyone has a lot of ego,” Eubanks says. “We have a lot of attitudes. But you learn to deal with people so that everyone is still friends and go out to dinner together.”
And it’s also equipped Eubanks with skills he can apply in the professional world, like raising money and budgeting for the team’s needs. In the past, the team has just checked out intramural jerseys from University Recreation, which houses intramural and club sports, but toward the end of this year, Eubanks purchased jerseys online. He and his girlfriend then took them to A.C. More, where she put all the lettering on each jersey. “It pays to date someone in textiles,” he says.
The men’s club team began in 2009 and plays its games in Carmichael Gymnasium on NC State’s campus. It competes against other universities’ club teams. In addition to winning the national title in 2010, it hosted the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association 2013 National Basketball Championships on campus in April. More than 70 teams from 19 states came to compete for the championships in Raleigh.
With events like that, the club team continues to raise its profile and sometimes sees its success translate into a player or two making it to the varsity squad. Jay Lewis walked onto the varsity squad during the 2012-13 campaign after success at the club level. But that can also mean more work for Eubanks and future club presidents to fill spots. “I’m always hoping the don’t steal my players,” Eubanks says. “But they do.”
For more on club sports at NC State, check out the Spring 2013 issue of NC State magazine. We profiled the rich program at the university and featured different club sports teams, some of which are the most successful and the best-kept secrets on campus.