Senior Amber Rechis’s love for basketball began with her elementary school carpet league.
“I had kind of been in cheerleading and my parents were like ‘no, we think you should go to basketball camp,’” Rechis said. “At first I hated it, but by the end of that week I couldn’t imagine not playing ball,”
After high school, the exercise science major spent a year at Florida Gulf Coast University before deciding to bring her talents closer to her Martin, Tennessee home.
“When I was in Florida and knew I wanted to come closer to home, and when no other school crossed my mind, I knew it was Union,” said Rechis. “I really like Coach Campbell and I knew the players he recruited were the type of people I wanted to be around.”
During her three seasons as a Bulldog, Rechis said she has come to see her fellow players as sisters.
“It’s kind of hard for me to think that in May, when I leave here, I’m not going to have a team to come back to,” Rechis said. “We’re all so close, we’re like a family.”
Rechis said she hopes that in her last four conference games, the team can win and continue on to the NCAA tournament. Though this is her last season on the court, Rechis said she plans to return and support the team often, as her younger sister, Tiffany, signed to play for Union next year.
After graduation, Rechis has plans to attend graduate school, study occupational therapy and become a licensed occupational therapist. She was recently accepted into Tennessee State’s program, but has yet to decide on a school. She said she’s passionate about therapy partially because of its similarities to basketball.
“It’s kind of like basketball, like you’re on a team with your patient,” Rechis said. “You have to set goals, work toward them and try and help them do what they want to again, whether that’s a stroke patient who wants to be able to cook again or an athlete who wants to get back on the court.”
For senior business management major Corieon Pearson, basketball was a way to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father, who played in high school, introduced him to the game when he was four and Pearson has been hooked ever since.
Pearson played in high school and then walked on to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s team as a college freshman. After that, he played for Journey College in Kansas before deciding it was time to come closer to his Memphis roots.
“I’m a real family person, so it was hard for me to be that far away and not see my family for months at a time, and then God blessed me with the opportunity to come to Union,” Pearson said.
Family isn’t the only thing Pearson loves about West Tennessee. He’s also passionate about Memphis barbecue and cited Rendezvous as his favorite downtown eatery.
Since becoming a Bulldog his sophomore year, Pearson said he has enjoyed the support that surrounds Union athletics.
“I love every game day just because of the fan support that we have here and the boosters,” Pearson said.
Pearson always listens to music before a game, and said he has a ritual of changing shoes at half time if he feels his playing “isn’t up to par.” He also said he hopes his team can finish out the season well and make it to the NCAA tournament.
“I hope we can put ourselves in a position to be one of the top teams in the conference,” Pearson said. “I want to tell my younger teammates to work hard and live for the moment because tomorrow isn’t promised. Cherish every moment because you never know what could happen.”
Though he said he’ll miss “just being with the guys every day” after graduation, Pearson has hopes to either continue playing overseas or work in the technology department of a high school in Memphis. Eventually, he hopes to own his own business.
“I like the opportunity to learn about owning your own company. My dad owns an appliance store, and he’s kind of laid the blueprint for me to work for myself instead of having to answer to someone else,” Pearson said.
Both basketball teams will play against University of North Alabama on Feb. 19th. The Lady Bulldogs play first at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.