When people in the Albany area usually think of Siena Basketball, the thought that comes to mind is the men’s basketball team. They play their games at the Times Union Center, where a majority of the city can come and watch their local team, and draw a big local crowd. However, Siena Basketball as a whole has been shaped by both the men’s and women’s teams. Junior Maddie Sims, being on the women’s team for three years now, has become part of this basketball tradition.
From New Jersey, Maddie Sims has been playing basketball all her life. Her physicality definitely helped her with her success, as Maddie stands at a 6’2 frame. Her height makes her one of the tallest people on the court at all times, and a major contributor to Siena’s defensive game. But Maddie is not only an athlete, she is a business major with concentrations in international business and sports service marketing. Also, Maddie has two minors in entrepreneurship and creative arts. With balancing classes, practice, and the little free time she has, Maddie is the true epitome of a student-athlete.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Maddie wakes up for her 8 a.m. accounting class. Waking up can sometimes be a struggle, since some nights Maddie can be up until 11 or later doing work for the week ahead. Because of Maddie’s creative arts minor, while her other teammates get to practice at 3 p.m. when it starts, she arrives 30 minutes late coming directly from class. She says one of the hardest things to deal with is balancing schoolwork with practice, and class conflicts with practice do not make this any easier. The team also lifts three times a week, making practices and walking around campus much more difficult with the added soreness.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are lighter for Maddie on the academics side. She has only one class on these days, Comparative Economics. The extra time Maddie has in the mornings usually revolve around getting ahead on work, or going to the sports medicine training room to get prepared for her practices that day. Since the team practices so much, going to the trainers for treatment is something Maddie really values.
While most student-athletes at Siena have weekends off for practicing, Maddie has practice from 1 to 5 p.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays. Most people on campus spend their entire Sundays doing work and studying for exams coming up that week, but Maddie has to balance that time with her four-hour weekend practices. With so much time dedicated to basketball during the week, being a junior Maddie has to take on a leadership role for her team. She says one of the most important things she has to do is making sure everyone on her team is balancing school and practice well, and if not, making sure that she can help them through this.
As the team starts up their competitive season in early November, Maddie’s weekly schedule will become much different. She regularly misses classes during the week because of basketball games. Even if games are at night, Maddie might miss her daytime classes for prepping for the game that night. With missing classes, Maddie usually brings classwork with her on road trips so she can keep up with her academics. Especially when games are in full swing, Maddie claims that this is the hardest part about being a student-athlete. However, she says that it is worth it because she can bring success to her college and team.
After Maddie’s busy, but purposeful, years at Siena, she is interested in doing the Ireland Sports Program, which will allow her to keep playing basketball for a year overseas and get her master’s degree at the same time. After this year is over, Maddie wants to pursue her major’s concentrations and break into the Sports Marketing Industry. This would enable Maddie to work here in the U.S. and overseas. With the amount of traveling Maddie does in her college career for basketball, traveling in her career does not seem as intimidating to her. With playing basketball and being a full-time student, Maddie knows that her sometimes overwhelming schedule now will be beneficial to her in the future, helping her navigate stressful situations and always striving to succeed.