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The Gothic Times

The student news site of New Jersey City University

The Gothic Times

The student news site of New Jersey City University

The Gothic Times

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Walik Albright: A Hometown Hero

Albright finished his final season at NJCU averaging 14.5 points per game, earning seven NJAC Athlete of The Week honors, and was selected second team all-conference. Courtesy of www.njcugothicknights.com.
Albright finished his final season at NJCU averaging 14.5 points per game, earning seven NJAC Athlete of The Week honors, and was selected second team all-conference. Courtesy of www.njcugothicknights.com.

By Ike Ejikeme

Walik Albright, 23, early childhood education major from Jersey City, has had a tremendous career playing small forward for NJCU’s men’s basketball team. As a fifth year senior finishing up his final season of collegiate basketball, it is only apropo to look back at his accomplishments on and off the court during his time as a student athlete.

In the 2013-14 season, Albright became the 27th player in NJCU’s 81-year-old history to score 1,000 points, but also became the first recruit under current head coach Marc Brown to reach this milestone. It is an achievement that Albright takes great pride in.

“I think it’s a big accomplishment for me personally because when I look back at my career, I was the first to do it under coach Brown, and no one can ever take that away from me,” Albright said.

Despite his success this season, Albright feels the 2010-11 season when NJCU won the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament may be the most monumental achievement of his career.

“Playing these four seasons has been a great experience,” Albright said. “ I’ve accomplished everything I ever wanted to as a collegiate athlete. At the end of the day, winning the NJAC championship was one of my most memorable moments as a basketball player. Though we struggled at the time, the way we were able to persevere after a tough loss and turn things around was very special. At some point we went from being a team to becoming a family. Nothing could stop us. That championship run only made me hungrier and more motivated to try and win again.”

Albright missed the entire 2012-13 season, and was a given a medical hardship waiver a due to a broken jaw. This redshirt season gave Albright eligibility to play a fifth and final season.

Despite his time off, Albright remained focused on his comeback, and played like he had never left. He calls the entire situation a “blessing in disguise.” The incident taught him to never take things for granted and cherish everything you have in life. Though it could have been worse for him, sitting out a year and coming back taught him to be a better person.

Albright finished his final season at NJCU averaging 14.5 points per game, earning seven NJAC Athlete of The Week honors, and was selected second team all-conference. Despite being the only NJCU player to receive any accolades this season, he seemed to have a blasé attitude about it.

“I would rather have won a championship with this group of guys, but I’m just glad I was able to lead by example and do everything I could do to win games,” Albright said.

Albright is not only unique because of his abilities on the court, but also because of his status as a student athlete. Many who know him personally see him as a hometown hero. Living in Jersey City all his life, it almost seems like a fairy tale for him to earn a degree in his hometown, and to make an impact on and off the court.

“Coming out of high school, it wasn’t in my plans to go to NJCU,” Albright said. “I did it for my family; I wanted them to be able to come see me play and support me. I felt like out of all the schools that recruited me, I fit best in coach Brown’s system. After a couple of sit downs with coach, it sealed the deal. There was never a day since the time I was recruited from high school, to my last college game, that I felt unwelcomed.”

Though Albright has achieved much respect and honor on the basketball court and in the Jersey City community, he says his greatest accomplishment and motivation comes from his baby daughter.

“Having a child has taught me greater responsibilities. I’ve truly learned what it means to seize the day, take nothing for granted, and to do things that will not only better me, but open up a better future and opportunities for my daughter,” Albright said.

As the ball of life continues to roll, he plans to take things step by step and not rush his future; however, there is one thing he has his eye on when it comes to his basketball career at NJCU. He hopes to one day join current men’s basketball assistant coaches Jonathan Greene and Abdul Madison in the NJCU Hall of Fame.

“It is really something I think about every day. As humble as I am, to be remembered as a hall of famer would be a blessing. I pray and hope that one day I’ll be honored with this great accolade,” Albright said.

It would be the perfect fairytale ending to one day see Albright’s name mentioned among the other great athletes in the NJCU Hall of Fame. He leaves behind a legacy of being humble, talented, and a true class act. As his basketball career at NJCU ends, Albright expects to walk in May 2015, and aspires to go into counseling. He is also considering post-graduate studies to further his education and career.

Albright’s first year of eligibility for the NJCU Hall of Fame is the 2020-21 season.

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Walik Albright: A Hometown Hero