Sallee draws academic card

“Jeremy Sallee’s career goals extend beyond the basketball court. In fact, his aspirations of becoming a shoe and clothing designer have shaped his collegiate athletic career. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound guard started 18 games for Division III Case Western Reserve University during his freshman season in 2004-2005.”

Jeremy Sallee’s career goals extend beyond the basketball court. In fact, his aspirations of becoming a shoe and clothing designer have shaped his collegiate athletic career.

The 5-foot-10, 150-pound guard started 18 games for Division III Case Western Reserve University during his freshman season in 2004-2005. Sallee’s 9.3 points-per-game ranked fourth-best on the team and his four assists-per-game paced the Spartans.

The Hamilton, Ohio, native and Lakota East High School standout transferred to the University of Akron the following year, trading in his prominent athletic role at the University Athletic Association member school to enroll in UA’s graphic design program and for a chance to walk-on with the Zips’ basketball team.

(It’s) more of an academic school and I’m more of an art guy, Sallee said of Case, which did not have his desired major. I’m smart, but I do art.

Sallee’s 3.61 GPA attests to his scholastic ability. Since starting his academic career at UA, the walk-on created his own curriculum to change his major from graphic design to fashion design.

That was the greatest part, actually, academically, Sallee said of his transfer.

Sallee has earned a spot on UA’s squad as a non-scholarship walk-on the past two seasons. His two career starts in a Zips’ uniform, however, stand in stark contrast to the athletic success he enjoyed at Case. Sallee’s primary responsibility now consists of running the scout team in practice, mimicking the plays of upcoming Zips’ opponents.

UA head men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot said that the athletic sacrifice Sallee made to pursue his academic goals shows the commitment he has to his future.

He went from being a starter at Case Western to not playing very much here, which tells you where his priorities are, Dambrot said. He’s got it together. He’s a fabulous person and he’s going to be very successful.

After appearing in 19 games for the Zips last season, Sallee has only appeared in eightgames in his senior season this year, with the emergence of redshirt freshman Steve McNees and sophomore Daryl Roberts.

Here’s a guy that played a little bit last year that hasn’t played very much this year, so that makes it even harder, Dambrot added.

Sallee said that his diminished playing time has been disappointing, but that he finds satisfaction in the success he’s experiencing off the hardwood.

I’m not too happy that I’m not playing, but I can deal with it this year, knowing that I’ve got other stuff going for me, he said. I’ve got my major alright and my fashion design stuff going on.

I’m pretty happy now. I’d love to play every day, but you know, it’s just basketball when you look at the big thing.

Dambrot described his second-year walk-on guard as a hard worker and as someone who never complains. He said that not being able to find playing time for someone as dedicated as Sallee can be difficult.

The hard thing as the coach is that this is a business, Dambrot said. You can’t play everybody. You have to play who you think wins the game.

That’s hard when you have a kid like him, because he’s a great kid, but ultimately that can’t come into the decision-making.

While UA’s fourth-year head coach can’t promise the fashion design major playing time, he said that he’s committed to helping Sallee reach his professional goals.

That guy is one of the best students that we have, he said. He’s very talented. He’s a very, very bright kid.

My talk with him is ‘Hey, you may not get everything you want on the basketball court, but we’re going to do everything we can to help you to achieve everything you want to off the court.’ That is helping him with jobs, getting him involved with Nike, adidas (and) people like that, where he can really use his skills.

Earlier this year, Sallee applied for a summer internship with Nike.

Realizing that he is in the twilight of his athletic career, Sallee said that his goals for the rest of this season are to have fun while helping the team win and to continue to develop his fashion design projects.

On the court, I’d love it if we went to the NCAA Tournament, he said. Off the court, get some of my (designs) in production (and) do some fashion shows.

Sallee plans to complete his degree next year.

Wood sidelined

An MRI revealed Friday that UA senior captain Jeremiah Wood had a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. Wood, who had been slowed by soreness in the knee over the last four games and was limited to 13 minutes of playing time in the Zips’ 66-86 loss at Western Michigan Wednesday, underwent surgery Saturday. The Preseason All-Mid-American Conference selection is out for at least four weeks, but could return to UA’s lineup in time for the MAC Tournament, March 12-15.

UA (17-6 overall, 7-3 MAC) defeated Ball State, 70-61 Saturday in its first game without its go-to post-player. The game was the Zips’ second conference road win of the season.

UA returns home to Rhodes Arena tonight when it hosts Northern Illinois at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by FSN Ohio.


” #1.1361321:1692007957.jpg:sallee, jeremy_0232.jpg:Though he has seen limited playing time, Sallee’s transfer has paid off.:Jeff Harwell / Zips Sports Photography”