Madison Leaves A Legacy Of Leadership At Drake

by ,

first_imgBy Giovanna Zavell – Drake Athletic Communications Student AssistantThis story originally appeared in the Feb. 17-27 edition of the Drake Men’s Basketball Gameday Program.Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and the Drake men’s basketball team has been lucky to benefit from a natural-born leader for six years in Karl Madison. Given the opportunity to play for the Bulldogs for his sixth year while receiving his masters degree proved to be a very important year for Madison.”I have been blessed to get this year back and play again when I didn’t think I would be able to,” Madison said.Madison began his career at Drake by taking a redshirt his freshman year due to a knee injury. He was able to get back in the game his sophomore year but then saw limited action his junior year due to another injury. Although these two key injuries set Madison back two years, they didn’t set back his determination or his strong role on the team.”Karl has been a real leader on the team,” said head coach Ray Giacoletti. “I think everybody uses that word too much, but Karl is different. He has great leadership skills and does an amazing job talking and communicating. In today’s world, there aren’t a whole lot of people who talk the way he does anymore.”Both on and off the court, Madison proves to be a role model for his teammates. Whether it is remembering a specific play or offering guidance on how to balance school and basketball, he has become the go-to-guy.”Karl has been my mentor since day one,” teammate C.J. Rivers said. “He took me under his wing and showed me what to do and how to do it. We play the same position and have sort of the same role, so I appreciate him for helping me take that step between playing high school basketball to learning how to play college basketball.”His legacy may not be left in the numbers, but his legacy is truly left in his personality, his character and especially his dedication to the team.”I want to leave a legacy at Drake knowing I was a leader and a person who put the team first,” Madison said. “Being the oldest guy on the team, I try and help out the younger players as much as I can. Some of the guys call me grandpa or big brother of the team, which is fine because I like to help them in any way possible.”True colors appear during times of adversity, which Giacoletti calls the truth serum. Madison describes himself as a tough-minded individual, which surely lends a hand during tough situations. By being a vocal leader, he is able to bring the team back together and help them deal with the difficult times. His true colors are “inspirational” and “a good direction to follow according to Giacoletti.Although the team and fans know of his leadership on the court, there is an aspect of that he believes goes unnoticed. The reason being is because fans and coaches are not present for this act of leadership. It happens in the locker room, before game time or after practice, exclusively between Madison and his teammates.”I don’t really talk about it much,” Madison said. “It is something I want to do for the team. Most people don’t hear my locker room talk; the coaches aren’t in there much so they don’t see it either. I just help the guys with whatever they need. On the road, in hotels and off the court, any issues, I can always help them.””He holds things together when the coaches aren’t in the locker room,” Giacoletti said. “My three years being here I have never had to worry about what is being said in the locker room because I know he will act as the voice and say the right thing to steer the conversation from going in a different direction. There is no selfishness with Karl, it is always about the team.”Giacoletti also explains Madison’s role as being unique to the younger players’ learning and adjusting. Being at Drake for six years, he has gone through highs and lows and those experiences are something he shares with the younger guys on the team to give them an understanding of what he has been through and how he made it through. This unique situation with a sixth-year senior on the roster is something that does not happen very often and Madison’s influence is easily seen on his teammates.Off the court, Madison is earning his masters degree in public administration. As an undergrad, he studied law politics and society and originally wanted to become a lawyer. However, when law school started to appear on the horizon, Madison decided it would be too difficult to play basketball and attend law school, so he decided to follow in the footsteps of his mother where he could follow one of his greatest prides.”My mom worked in human relations,” Madison said. “I heard a lot of stories of how she helped people. I decided this was the position for me. It was a job where I could continue to be a leader but in a different setting. I would be able to carry over the characteristics of leadership I hold on the court into the business world.”Of course, basketball is a very important part of the future, but Madison knows that someday his career as an athlete will have to come to an end. His ideal future job would be working in human resources or a position in which he can continue to mentor others.Moving forward in life and leaving his Drake family behind, Madison knows the team is on an upward trajectory and will only get better from here.”I know this team will be great,” Madison said. “We’ve had a rocky year but the team is young, and they will all be returning next year. The sky is the limit for this team as long as they are able to come together. I always remind my teammates when they are complaining about practice being too long or playing basketball too long that I had two key injuries that set me back a couple of years. But that didn’t stop me. I tell the guys to always remember that you have no idea if this will be your last game or your last practice. Take everyday as if it were your last day and cherish it.”Print Friendly Versionlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *