Where they’re heading now
Graduating athletes prepare for career field post-UB
Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 17:04
As graduation approaches, some student-athletes look forward to life outside of the sport that has dominated their last four years. Many of the Bulls graduating this year, however, can’t resist the itch to pursue a career in the sport they love.
Here’s a list of some of the notable seniors around campus and their plans for after graduation:
Tony Watson, men's basketball:
Watson elevated his game in his final season with the Bulls. In three consecutive conference games this season, he recorded at least 24 points and rarely came off the floor.
His breakout season has earned him the opportunity to play professionally overseas. After signing an agent two weeks ago, Watson is in discussions with teams in Germany, Sweden and Romania.
“Right now, I’m just waiting to see where the opportunities come from,” Watson said. “Honestly, it’s the only option. I see professional basketball as what I want to do for the next few years of my life, and if it’s worthwhile, I’ll continue to play as long as possible and it’s just something I love doing.”
Watson is graduating with a marketing degree and is well versed outside of basketball. This past summer, he interned with external affairs in UB Athletics and earned the Intern of the Year award within the School of Management.
When his pro career is over, Watson is interested in entrepreneurship and starting his own business.
“I want to start my own business in training kids and helping them out to fulfill their dreams,” Watson said. “So I’ll take the money I get from playing professionally to start my business in that field and have a facility where I train kids and probably have leagues and tournaments.”
Vusa Hove, men’s tennis:
A Zimbabwe native, Hove has had a significant impact on the men’s tennis team, totaling 73 career wins in singles play in his four years at Buffalo and being ranked nationally at one point.
Though his tennis career at Buffalo will soon be over, he will continue studying at UB for two more semesters.
“I will be completing my chemistry degree and look toward going to grad school for chemistry next year,” Hove said. “I definitely want to go into the teaching field. I want to be a chemistry professor if tennis does not work out.”
Hove is thankful to the UB community for welcoming him from a different continent.
“I feel that the community as a whole is very welcoming and that UB has opened the door to many opportunities for me in life coming from Africa,” Hove said. “The sky is the limit if you put effort and work hard at what you do, and most of all, love what you do.”
Jason Kanzler, baseball:
Kanzler burst onto the scene in his junior season, as he made the All Mid-American Conference second team and batted .345. This year, he has continued his success. In what has been the best season in the baseball program’s history, Kanzler currently leads the team in batting average, runs, hits, home runs and runs batted in.
After college, Kanzler plans to play professionally. He’s currently projected to be drafted between rounds 12 and 16 via perfectgame.org, according to Kanzler.
“It’s been a blessing [to play at UB],” Kanzler said. “I was cut from Northeastern baseball after two weeks of tryouts. To have the opportunity to come play at Buffalo has been amazing. When you’re told you’re not good enough to do something, and you come out and not only do it but do it at a very high level, it’s very satisfying.”
When his baseball career comes to an end, Kanzler plans to move south and pursue coaching and athletic administration.
“[Baseball] has impacted my life so much for the positive that I really just want to make sure other people can experience it,” Kanzler said.
Steven Means, football
Means was a force in disrupting opposing backfields. The Buffalo native was second on the team in tackles for loss last season.
Now, Means has his eyes set on the NFL. He is currently training for the league and is ranked 44 out 200 outside linebackers on nfldraftscout.com.
If football doesn’t work out for Means, his plan is to become a firefighter.
“My father was a fire fighter and he’s retired now, so I want to follow in his foot steps,” Means said.
Nicki Hopkins, women’s basketball
The sharpshooting Hopkins will be sticking with basketball after her time at Buffalo. Hopkins already has a job lined up as the director of basketball operations at Oakland University in Michigan.
“I have a marketing degree, so I wouldn’t mind doing a sports marketing position later on down the line, but I definitely want to stick with basketball and become a coach,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins leaves Buffalo in good spirits and is grateful of her time here.
“I’ve had a really great experience here,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of friends and connections and it’s a great place to be.”