Time management is key for ASU women's basketball forward

Courtney Ekmark splits her time between law school and Division I basketball

Many student-athletes work hard to balance the many facets of their lives, between maintaining a social life, playing their respective sport and, of course, going to school.

This is especially true for redshirt junior guard/forward for the No. 24 ASU women’s basketball team: Courtney Ekmark.

Ekmark transferred from the University of Connecticut in 2016, but because of NCAA transfer rules, was unable to play last year.

With a full year of being unable to record playing time, Ekmark put her newfound free time to good use. She continued to pursue her undergraduate degree and in May 2017 she graduated with a degree in liberal studies.

This allowed Ekmark to begin working on a degree in law, which she thinks will help her in whatever she wants to do after school.

“A law degree is useful for anything you want to do — it teaches you how to critically think,” Ekmark said.

However, this degree requires a lot of work. Douglas Sylvester, the dean for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, said that often times the faculty tells students to treat this degree as a full-time job.

“You should look at law as a 40-hour (work) week, between classes and studying and writing papers and getting ready for finals," Sylvester said.

Sylvester said that Ekmark is not only facing a 40-hour work week for law, but also has obligation to the basketball program.

Sylvester was very interested to meet Ekmark before admitting her into the law school — a practice he uses for student applications of interest to the school. 

“We talked a lot about law school, the challenges she was going to have playing really high-level basketball, while also going to a really elite law school,” Sylvester said. 

Originally, Sylvester was worried that Ekmark did not truly understand how time consuming both activities would be. However, after a few conversations, that all changed .

“I have to admit I was incredibly blown away by her,” Sylvester said. “She basically, over time, convinced me that this was a chance that we absolutely wanted to take (and) from everything that I’ve heard, she’s not regretting it and neither are we.”

Ekmark has been able to balance basketball and law through through careful time management. This has not been easy, especially since the team has begun shifting from the preseason into the regular season.

“Time management is huge,” Ekmark said. “Definitely utilizing my off days has been huge for me getting ahead with all my readings for the week.” 

This includes making the best of free time that she didn’t anticipate having. 

When the team traveled to Texas to take on TCU in a closed scrimmage, the Sun Devils arrived to the airport only to find that their flight was delayed for two hours.

“There was Courtney (Ekmark), sitting on the floor with some 50-pound textbook already getting her work out,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “She has to be so disciplined with the workload for law school and the commitment to our program.”

Ekmark will play out the rest of the 2017-18 season, the entire 2018-19 season and then graduate.

Ekmark said she would love to continue playing basketball and that coaching is certainly an option when she can’t play anymore.

However, the redshirt junior hasn’t given a ton of thought to what she will pursue, adding that she will deal with that decision when the time comes.

“The great thing about Courtney Ekmark is that she will be able to do whatever she wants to do,” Turner Thorne said. “That’s a great situation to be in.”

Reach the reporter at Joshua.Zaklis@asu.edu and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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