Photo: Joey Gale
For point guard Karl Madison, Drake basketball is more than a sport, a support system and a passion. It’s a way of life.
Madison, a 5-foot-10-inch redshirt freshman, fell in love with the game as a youngster when his father put a basketball in his hands at just 6-months-old. The rest is history as Madison’s early love of the sport translated into his first competitive game at age 6, followed by a promising high school basketball career.
Earning all-state honors at Lanphier High School in Springfield, Ill., Madison knew a collegiate basketball career held promise for him, and Drake was just the place.
By his side every step of the way, Madison’s parents influence their son’s endeavors both on the basketball court and in the classroom.
“My role models would have to be my parents,” he said. “I always look to them for guidance.”
Madison also said that his mentor Ted Docks and his network of friends have been integral to his growth of a player.
Sidelined last season due to a knee injury, offseason conditioning has been Madison’s focus entering his first healthy season as a Bulldog.
“Oh, it’s very important,” Madison said. “I wanted to be better conditioned this year, and it has been really tough, but it really helped me, and it helped a lot of the other guys to be better players.”
The Bulldogs’ hard work in the offseason, Madison said, will lead to exciting games, packed stands and loud crowds as Drake opens the season with this Saturday’s exhibition against Quincy at 11 a.m. at the Knapp Center.
“The fans can expect to see a lot of excitement this year,” Madison said. “I think we have a lot to show. We’d like to see the Knapp Center filled up this year. We’d like to see a lot of people support us and help us win some games.”
Channeling an energetic approach at the point guard position, Madison said he hopes his style of play contributes to that enthusiastic atmosphere this season. With a three-player battle for the starting point guard spot, alongside senior Kurt Alexander and redshirt sophomore David Smith, the 2011-12 season is sure to provide a powerful, interesting lineup.
“I would like to bring energy, (be a) great defender and just a leader,” Madison said. “I want to be the best point guard I can be. I play every game as hard as I can.”
Particularly important as a returning player, Madison said he hopes to be a role model for the Bulldogs as he strives to lead by example and overcome tough situations both on and off the basketball court.
“I’d just like to learn and be coachable, and there will be bumps and bruises along the way, but I just want to learn from those mistakes and try to get better each day,” Madison said.
With a team he describes as “family” behind him, Madison is looking forward to facing the Missouri Valley Conference’s toughest teams this season, particularly Wichita State and Creighton. The Bulldogs open MVC play on Dec. 28 against Indiana State.