Rising above the rim
Alex Zurn ’13 excels on the court and in the classroom
Alex Zurn ’13 is a high flyer. Anyone who has walked into Bream Gym to watch a Gettysburg College men’s basketball game over the last four seasons has likely seen one of his gravity-defying slam dunks or at least watched him put up scoring totals that led to more than 1,000 career points as a Bullet.
Zurn arrived at Gettysburg following a successful prep career at St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Potomac, Md. He joined a collegiate team that had advanced to the Centennial Conference title game in each of the previous two seasons, including winning it all in 2009.
“I wasn’t expecting much freshman year, but it just so happened they lost a ton of players and I was able to start and contribute a good amount to the team,” said Zurn, a 6-foot-4 center. “We made it to the conference finals. I was really happy about that.”
Zurn emerged as a go-to player in Gettysburg’s offensive system. As a freshman, he finished third on the team in scoring, while shooting a career-best 56.9 percent from the field. He also established his presence above the rim with 10 jams, but it was his overall ability that impressed Head Coach George Petrie.
“At the end of his freshman year, he was so impressive,” Petrie said. “He came into the year and even he couldn’t believe he could score that many points and shoot something like 50 percent from the field. He wasn’t shooting lay-ups. He wasn’t a post player. He really bought into what we were doing and he was committed to that.”
But life as a Division III student-athlete has not always been easy for Zurn. Although he enjoyed a smooth transition to college on the hardwood, Zurn had to dig down deep to also reach his academic goals.
And it has paid off. Zurn was recently named a recipient of the Academic Momentum Award presented by the Scholar Baller program in conjunction with the National Consortium of Academics and Sports (NCAS).
“[The award] shows how hard I’ve worked academically, which is something I don’t think I’ve ever been rewarded for,” he said. “To have my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my coach, the deans, and everyone know I got that award, it meant a lot. It meant a lot to me, to them, and I think to the College.”
Now a senior, Zurn has embraced the role of leader of the Gettysburg men’s basketball team, both on the court and in the classroom. He was named All-Centennial Conference Honorable Mention in 2011-12 and he is in line for more postseason recognition this season after leading the Bullets with 14.8 points per game.
Zurn enhanced his basketball legacy this season by becoming just the 24th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. He also posted a school-record 39 dunks, many of which ignited the team to victory. He even helped the Bullets pick up a key win over Muhlenberg earlier this season, netting 29 points in a 84-78 overtime win on Jan. 12.
But if you ask Zurn, his legacy at Gettysburg is about more than just the highlight reel dunks and Bullet victories – it’s also about working hard to earn a quality education.
“Gettysburg College, in its own way, convinced me to be a student-athlete and a student first. I got the message and I delivered. I would like to be remembered as a STUDENT-athlete.”
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Corey Jewart, associate director of athletic communications, 717.337.6323.
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521.
Posted: Mon, 25 Feb 2013
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