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Freshman adjusts to life as a Division I basketball player

Karl Madison’s day is beginning a little earlier than usual this morning. Up at 5:30 a.m., he puts on a hooded sweatshirt and his Adidas basketball shoes, and heads to another day of boot camp where he will be running, lifting and then running again.

After boot camp, he has back-to-back classes. After class, he comes back to his room in Herriott Hall and sits down long enough to realize he has to go to practice at 3:30 p.m., before he heads off to study tables at 7. Finally, at 9 p.m., Madison gets to do what he wants. Sure enough, he picks sleep.

This is just a small glimpse into the life of basketball in which Madison dedicates himself.

Madison has been playing basketball ever since he could pick up a ball and shoot with it. He played his first game when he was 6, and from there has put in nothing but time into the game he loves the most. Madison said he feels that playing basketball is what he is supposed to be doing.

When Madison graduated high school, he was one of the most highly recruited players in Illinois along with friend and Drake shooting guard Rayvonte Rice. Since his arrival on campus, Madison’s game hasn’t lost a step.

“[Madison is] always looking to get you involved and will pass up the open shot if you’re open, no matter how bad of a night you have shooting the ball,” Rice said.

Despite the praise from his teammates, Madison still believes he has much to improve.

“I still have to improve my jump shot. I have to limit my turnovers,” Madison said. “I’m not close to being where I want to be.”

Unfortunately, Madison will not be able to amaze fans this year.

Throughout practices and the preseason he has been hampered with ankle injuries that have not healed the way he had hoped. Before last Saturday’s exhibition win, Madison chose to redshirt in order to properly heal so that further injury doesn’t occur.

However, this won’t stop Madison from being around the game he loves most.

“I’m still going to do whatever it takes to help my teammates win, whether it be in practice or at the games,” he said. “I’m still going to do what I can to help our team win the conference championship.”

This is the approach that defines Madison: a strong work ethic mixed with a humble attitude. The desire to learn and succeed on and off the court has benefitted him greatly. It’s these qualities that should excite Bulldog basketball fans for the future.

“I’ll be ready for next year,” Madison said.

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