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Brian Connelly: Success on the Court and Beyond

April 20, 2009

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Senior Brian Connelly

Senior Brian Connelly is hoping the leadership skills he's learned as an athlete translate into the world of business. (Photo Neil Colligan)

Senior Brian Connelly's basketball skills have taken him far on the court, including two NCAA appearances with UAlbany's Great Danes. He's hoping some of those skills also translate into success in the world of business.

“Your job experience is almost non-existent because of how rigorous the basketball schedule is,” said Connelly, of Audubon, N.J. “But when you look at it another way, the skills you learn from basketball are just priceless, like being a leader and having time management skills and discipline.”

His discipline has helped him focus in the classroom, where he is completing a business major with concentrations in management and marketing and was named to the 2008 America East Academic team. After commencement, Connelly is looking to pursue graduate school at UAlbany's top-ranked School of Business.

"I don't want to be one of those guys that just goes to the office everyday," said Connelly. "I want to find some type of greatness in whatever I do. I want to have an impact."

Brian Connelly of UAlbany Men's Basketball team shoots a jumpshot against Stony Brook

Connelly's discipline, both on the court and off of it, has helped him control his Type I Diabetes. He gives back by visiting with children who also suffer from Juvenile Diabetes. (Photo Cindy Shultz, Times Union)

Connelly certainly had an impact on the court. His mop-top blond hair and surfer appearance suggest that his game is California flash. But looks can be deceiving. The 6-foot-8-inch Albany senior forward’s game is decidedly New Jersey blue collar, with an emphasis on substance over style. Connelly’s two NCAA appearances speak louder than his statistics (8.1 points per game, 4.7 rebounds). The latter suggest he is a role player, but the former underscore the importance of such players on championship squads.

“It’s every athlete’s dream to go to the NCAA tournament. I was able to go twice,” Connelly said. “Every time you turn on the TV everyone’s crazy with the bracketology, filling out the pool. It’s cool to see your school on the bracket.”

His discipline on the court might come from his discipline off the court, where he has a regimented diet, exercise and sleep plan, developed to control his Type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed his senior year of high school, but it took several years to fine tune his diet. During his sophomore year against Harvard, he began feeling weak during an Albany run late in the game. He had to be subbed out and the UA medical staff brought him a candy bar to boost his blood-sugar level.

After the scare against Harvard, Connelly took more responsibility for his condition and adhered to a tight routine.

"I think it's nice for young kids to see a kid like Brian -- great kid, very good student, good basketball player, how he's successful fighting this disease and living a normal life," said Head Coach Will Brown.

His next season Connelly averaged a career best 10.1 points and helped his team overachieve in securing a No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. Though diabetes may have limited his individual abilities on the basketball court, Connelly makes no excuses and sees the positive side of his condition, including being a role model for children.

He hopes that continues, even after graduation.

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