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Ronnie Stokes, Former Ohio State Buckeye Standout

Ron Stokes has been the expert analyst on the radio broadcasts of Ohio State basketball. Stokes also is the CEO and president of Three Leaf Productions, a Columbus-based printing, marketing, and advertising business. Mr. Stokes played basketball for Ohio State from 1981-85, served as a captain for two seasons, and was the team MVP and all-Big Ten as a senior. He ranks among the top six all-time for the Buckeyes in assists and steals, and in the top 25 in scoring.  PPD Mag caught up with Mr. Stokes to talk about athletes and personal development.

PPD Mag: Why are athletes getting into so much trouble outside of sports?

Mr. Stokes: I quantify that things today were not around when I played.  Social media and cell phones are a big issue.  This generation of opposing fans has much more access to student athletes as well as professional athletes.  The athletes personal business is more exposed and socially, the general public  are now noticing a lot of the negative behavior athletes are exhibiting away from the sport.

Dr. Mark:  How important is the male influence for the athlete?

Mr. Stokes: Having a positive influence during the developmental stages at home especially having the male influence or lack of influence plays a major role.  I would add, not having a male in the household is an issue.  Mom and grandma are great but having a male involved in the developmental process is in some ways a separator.  Unfortunately we are seeing a lot of athletes getting into trouble and they happen to be African American athletes.

PPD Mag: What core element is missing from college and professional athletics?

Mr. Stokes: A person who is dedicated and focusing on working with athletes in an area of personal growth.  At the moment we could see this person as a mentor.  I think a mentor is someone that can give the kids something that they need, if someone who has had similar life experience that they can share with athletes, it can be useful to a kid.  However, it is important to understand that, mentorship has a lot of responsibility and people attempting to fill that role need to understand all the components involved.  More importantly, the mentee has to be able to accept the information and help which the mentor is providing.  Its a two way street.

PPD Mag: Do you see a need for transitional support services for athletes? 

Mr. Stokes: Yes, transitional support services are vitally important, unfortunately kids leave college ill-equipped in certain areas, they are thrown out and expected to survive in a number of areas and the transition is an ongoing process.  I know some coaches help athletes but I also know some coaches that just don’t.  I had mentors who taught me and prepared me for life.  These were things that I couldn’t learn on the basketball court.

During a four or five year process it would be an extra bonus for the school to provide pre-transitional services.  Once they leave the university, student athletes do not engage with the institution.  Services should be in place allowing athletes to engage with the university.  By that I mean, the institutions should have programs in place to support former athletes once they have completed or exhausted their eligibility, due to the amount of issues former athletes encounter.

 

PPD Mag: What are your three suggestions for student athletes?

  1. Write down your goals, short, medium and long term.
  2. Find 2 or 3 people in your goal areas and identify someone to include in your circle.
  3. Find mentors you can trust and believe in, stay close to them and act on what they tell you.

 

You can find Mr. Stokes on twitter 

This interview was arranged by Jay Keys

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The Joe Asberry Project 

Joe Asberry left the USA in 1991 to play international basketball and has not been back since.  He has played in Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Finland and Luxembourg and to this day lives in Berlin.  He is currently a social worker, who is an international guest speaker on drug prevention and sports motivation.

Dr. Mark: Why are your youtube videos so Hard Core?

Mr. Asberry: I try and just keep it real and its a rage.  I really felt I was not treated fairly in the college system.  I also think it stems from my experience at Pepperdine University where I was redshirted and then the next year they shipped me out!  Now, I made mistakes, but I think they could have had someone on campus working with me on the issues I had.  It was clear that I had a substance abuse problem back then as well as a lot of other guys on the team. I won’t name names, lol.  The reason I am speaking after years is to show them they did not stop me from achieving my goal. I also want to help educate and inspire the next generation of ballers.

Dr. Mark: Playing basketball in Europe, what are the key issues athletes need to understand?

Mr. Asberry: One, off the court issues

Financial Issues:  are you going to get your money on time or at all and most often players money is late.

Health Issues:  Most teams have health coverage but I have heard too many stories of guys getting hurt and soon after, they are released from the club.

Social Issues: The club life will kill you and the women really, really are interested in you and I have seen guys get caught up in that and I was one of them but the social seen didn’t dictate my success.  Some guys can handle it but some guys can’t.

Cultural Issues: Athletes coming abroad have to be willing to embrace the culture.  The American culture is something they should leave in the USA, if not players never last on the international level.

Mr. Asberry: Two, on the court issues

Coaching and communication: some coaches don’t speak english and so it makes it tough to communicate in games.

Knowledge of the game of basketball:  Many of the coaches don’t understand the game in the same manner that US coaches do.

Teammates: Most of the teammates will be envious of your journey through basketball development and the major factor is your American and most Americans playing abroad get all the attention.

Knowledge of the game of basketball: the international rules are different and the style of play is a bit more technical from a fundamental stand point.  The USA has athletes on the court but many cant think the game.  The international game involves a lot more thinking while playing as oppose to just playing.

Dr. Mark: Can we expect more, of Joe’s Basketball Diary in 2016?

Bet on it, LoL…..

Click here to listen to Joe’s Basketball Diary 

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Gregg Simmons of Hire Ethics

Hire Ethics was created to support underrepresented college students. The majority of these students were completing their education but lacked the skills to obtain employment.  Hire Ethics became that bridge between education and employment.  After a few years in business, they realized that other populations were also lacking these same career management skills, particularly athletes.  In 2016, a new division of Hire Ethics will be launched, “Hire Ethics Pro” dedicated to career, education & employment services for elite & professional athletes. Gregg Simmons is the Executive Director of Hire Ethics and agreed to talk to PPD Mag.

Dr. Mark: Is it difficult to prepare athletes for a career outside of athletics?

Mr. Simmons: I don’t believe it is difficult.  I believe it becomes difficult when information is not available, when the discussion happens toward the end of their athletic career, and when there is a lack of support from their immediate circle.

Dr. Mark: Why is the transition to the career world difficult for athletes?

Mr. Simmons: Transition / change is difficult for most people, it becomes increasingly difficult for athletes because no one wants to talk about or plan for the inevitable, retiring or leaving their sport.

Dr. Mark: Can you tell us your thoughts on campus speakers who are former athletes?

Mr. Simmons: Athletes, like most people, like hearing from their own, so athletes are most receptive to listen to what former athletes have to say.  The benefits occur when the message or the story is so unique or special that the athlete gain empathy or not a sense of “I can do that too.”  The bigger issue is when a former athlete provides a good message but fails to provide or articulate a way for current athletes to be successful too (If that is the message from a former athlete).  There should be next steps or “how to” incorporated within any presentation to benefit or help the athlete.

Dr. Mark: Why is personal development important to the athlete?

Mr. Simmons: The main reason is in the title of the question “Personal.”  It has to be personal and athletes have to own it and be actively involved with their growth & development.  The same effort and time they put into being the best athletes has to go into their personal development.  Transition is inevitable, so preparing, training and getting ready for life after sports is important.

Dr. Mark: Do you believe people currently working with athletes have been properly trained to help athletes in the area of personal growth?

Mr. Simmons: I believe the majority of these people have not been trained properly.  It’s widely believed that being a former athlete is the main criteria to work with or speak to other athletes, this should not be the case.  A perfect example is when sport teams hire an All-World athlete as a head coach mainly due to their athletic success and they turn out to be an awful coach.  Being a former athlete or an athletic administrator is a great hire if they have been properly trained.

Dr. Mark: How does the family effect the personal development of the athlete?

Mr. Simmons: Family and individuals in their immediate circle influence, shapes and effects the athlete’s decisions, reality, direction and growth.  When an elite athlete transitions from sport so does everyone else in their family and immediate circle.

Click here to learn more about Hire Ethics 

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