Two alumni have been chosen to work with the University of Virginia men's basketball team.
Maren Council '22 was one of hundreds to apply as a team manager. 20 of those applicants were given interviews and only four were selected to be team managers, including Maren.
"Team managers go to the practices every day and assist where needed," said Maren. "We make players' water and gatorade, hand out towels, wipe up the floor, rebound for the players and assist the players and coaches with their needs. At games, we pass out towels and move the seats to the floor for time-outs. When the clock stops, that's when we go into action and move everything around!"
Jaden Hawkins '22 is working as the team's graphic designer and helps out at practices as a manager. He designed the official team poster and is responsible for a majority of the graphics shared on the team's social media accounts.
"Working with the team is really exciting," said Jaden. "It's incredible to actively contribute to and be a part of the team I've been a fan of since I was a kid. It's quite honestly surreal being on the floor during the games, and at times I have to remind myself that I have an actual job and that I'm not just watching the game courtside."
Jaden first got into graphic design in sixth grade and has enjoyed creating digitally ever since.
"The NSA arts program helped prepare me for the graphic design portion of the job," said Jaden. "Shoutout to Mrs. Sanchez and Mrs. Mason '80! They helped me create my portfolio and expand my artistic vision, and I feel I'm better off in this job because of them."
Maren also credits NSA for helping her secure her role as a team manager.
"NSA's faculty, staff and coaches always encouraged me to push myself and try new things!" said Maren. "I believe this gave me the confidence to apply for this position! Having played varsity basketball for Kim Aston '88, I understand the commitment it takes to be a part of an outstanding program. Watching Coach Bennett lead the UVA men's team is inspirational. The dedication and commitment it takes to succeed at this level of play is unmatched."
Maren and Jaden both agree it didn't hurt to have a friend nearby when starting their new jobs.
"When Maren decided to apply to join the team I was so excited," said Jaden. "We always joke that we’re just beginning the southern Virginia takeover of the UVA basketball team, as we now have two NSA members on the team. We used to serve on the Honor Council together, and now we’re working together again. It’s been great to have a familiar face in an otherwise entirely new group of people."
"I'm thankful Jaden told me about this opportunity and that we can be on this journey together!" said Maren. "Our families are lifelong friends and are our biggest cheerleaders. They've come to games and we've seen them taking pictures of us as we are working as the managers at games!"
Keep your eyes peeled while watching Hoos hoops this year! You might just see Maren and Jaden courtside!