Athlete of the week: Christen Prasse

Christen Prasse is a senior business administration and management double major from Naperville, Illinois, and a junior point guard for the women’s basketball team.

Prasse played basketball throughout high school, where she was selected as All-Area by the Chicago Sun Times and Class 4A Illinois Third Team All-State honors.

Prasse said she is going to be the best player she can be despite any obstacles in her way so she can end her basketball career on a good note.

How did you end up at NSU?

“I got recruited out of high school to go to St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri where they have a Division I basketball team. I was on a full scholarship there. I was there the summer going into my freshman year and part of my first semester. Right before the season started, I was just too overwhelmed. It was too much, and I just couldn’t balance everything. My older sister, who played at a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics college in Chicago, had a Christmas tournament down here at NSU, and my mom and dad came. This was when I was applying for colleges, and they were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this campus is beautiful. You should apply.’ I applied, and I visited over spring break, and I loved it. My whole sophomore year I was just a student, and last year, as a junior, I was itching to play [basketball] again. I emailed Coach Freeland, and she emailed me back in five minutes. I told her I wanted to try out this year as a senior, and she said, ‘Come into my office tomorrow and we’ll discuss what your options are.’ She basically said that if I wanted to, I could join the team on the spot, so I did and I started playing basketball the second semester of last year.”

How did you start playing?

“I have an older sister and she got into it. My dad built an outdoor basketball court at my house, and he would go out with my big sister when I was younger and I was kind of jealous that they were playing…Then my dad kept asking me to go out and play and go out and shoot. Then he ended up being my club coach, and he still comes down and watches me play and coaches me from the sidelines. My dad really got me into it.”

How do you balance being a student and an athlete?

“Each week, I look at my calendar for basketball and what I have upcoming for the school week, and I make a to-do list and check things off as I go through them.”

What is the hardest part of basketball?

“It’s a big time commitment. The hardest part is balancing friends, family and schoolwork on top of practices and traveling.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of basketball?

“The relationships I’ve made along the way. I love my coaches. I love the girls on my team. We have a really good record right now, 5-1, so winning is [also] a huge reward right now because we see all the hard work and all the little details we’ve been doing and that they make a difference.”

Are there any professional players that you look up to?

“Candace Parker. As a female figure, she did a lot for the sport. She played at Naperville Central High School, which is five minutes away from [my hometown]. Then she went to the University of Tennessee and played under Pat Summitt, and now she’s in the WNBA. She was cool to watch because I watched her play when she was growing up, so I look up to her.”

Do you have any team goals for your sport?

“We just want to keep winning. We just had some injuries that are pretty big [this year]…so a lot of our players have stepped up to fill the voids. Working hard every day and doing the little things we need to do to get the win.”

What are your greatest weaknesses as an athlete?

“One of my weaknesses is that I will see something in my head but I won’t voice it, so I’m not communicating as well as I should be. Being louder and more assertive is one of my weaknesses that I’m really working on.”

What are your greatest strengths as an athlete?

“My greatest strength is my basketball IQ because I’m a point guard, so I have to be able to see the floor and look out for my team to see what is the best option for that possession.”

Is there anything you wish you could change about your sport?

“The way college sports are becoming more of jobs. I know people who lose their passion for the sport once they get to college because of that and coaches don’t see that.”

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