CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern's Travis McConico participated in Athletes in Action's Basketball Captains Academy last week in Xenia, Ohio. The rising senior forward was one of 24 Division I players that spent five days engaging in various activities to strengthen leadership skills.
Attendees gained insight from numerous guest speakers spanning the worlds of sport, business and the military. CBS Sports' Clark Kellogg, a former college and NBA star, renowned sport psychologist Tim Kight and Navy SEAL Commander Mark McGinnis were among the fourth-annual event's most prominent guests.
McConico emerged believing the purpose of the Academy – to equip, empower and encourage student-athletes to be competent, confident, effective team leaders – was realized. He earned the chance to attend through CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh's friendship with AIA leader Morris Michalski, who spearheads the meeting.
"It was a great experience because of how personal it was," McConico said. "It was really kind of like a life-changing experience. They used basketball and leadership to bring us closer together and really open our eyes as to how we can help our teams. In those few days, I got to know some guys I just met that now I feel like I've known forever."
In addition to meeting the likes of Kellogg, Kight and McGinnis, the student-athletes conducted team-building exercises and learned communication skills and conflict management techniques. McConico is confident his experience will be beneficial to a still young CSU squad welcoming six new players this season.
"With us being a relatively young team, I want to make sure everybody comes in and is automatically welcomed," McConico said. "I really want to be a role model for the new guys and be the type of guy they can come to and talk whenever they're questioning anything or having any problems. I want to be that senior that can step up, talk to them and make them feel comfortable."
McConico, who transferred to CSU following two seasons at Florida State College at Jacksonville, made an immediate impact last year. He was third on the team in scoring (10.2 PPG) and rebounding (4.1 RPG) and helped the Bucs win eight of their final 11 games. McConico shot 39 percent from three-point range and ranked 12th in the Big South Conference with 61 triples.
More about Athletes in Action: Athletes in Action is an international sports organization that champions faith, character, and victory beyond competition. AIA hosts events, sends teams, and develops total athletes and coaches globally. 'For the good of the game, the growth of its people, to the glory of God' is their prime motivation.