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Jan. 22, 2003

CHARLOTTESVILLE- Student Athlete-of-the-Month showcases athletes who have demonstrated excellence both on the playing field and in the classroom. The January Male Student Athlete-of-the-Month, fourth-year Todd Billet, has displayed a strong work ethic in his academic and athletic endeavors. An Economics major from Middletown, NJ, Billet devotes his time to many activities including classes, basketball, and community service.

Q: You transferred to UVa from Rutgers before the beginning of the 2001 fall semester correct? So what has been the biggest challenge you have faced since transferring to UVa?

A: Transferring after two years at one school is difficult. You have to establish yourself and become familiar with the area, which generally takes some time. Getting used to a new team and a new school is similar to graduating college and finding a job. You don’t really know what to expect but you want to make the best of it.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference between UVa and Rutgers and why?

A: Both schools are very similar. They both are very good schools both in academics and athletics. Academically, both are challenging and athletically, both schools are in very competitive conferences. Basically, the biggest difference is location and layout of the schools.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence and why?

A: I would say my brother, Geoff, has been my biggest influence. He’s four years older than me and also played basketball at Rutgers. I have always looked up to him and interested in what he was doing and trying to emulate him in certain ways.

Q: How did transferring affect your academic goals and career plans?

A: Transferring brings you out of your comfort zone. You learn a lot about yourself, what makes you happy, and things you like and don’t like about who you are and what you are doing. Transferring made me learn about who I am and what I want out of life.

Q: How has your basketball schedule affected your coursework?

A: Well, this semester classes started on Wednesday and we had a game that day so I missed the first day of classes. Basically, I’ve learned that to play a sport in college and maintain your grades, you have to be willing to do extra. You have to communicate with your teachers so they don’t think you’re just blowing off class. You also have to try and meet up with your teachers to get work you missed or make up tests. It’s difficult, but you have to be committed to both the team and to school.

Q: What is your favorite Basketball moment here at UVa and why?

A: I would probably say our first ACC win this season against North Carolina. We played well in the first half and showed them what our team is capable of. It was a great game.

Q: And what about in school? What would you say has been a highlight for you academically?

A: Well, my first semester here I struggled academically because of the transition. Everything was so new to me. At Rutgers I was a half-hour from home and was also used to the routine of things. When I first got here it took me a while to get used to the change, but getting a 3.2 this fall semester made me realize how well I had adjusted. I overcame the distance and all that goes along with being at a new school and achieved academically what I knew I was capable of.

Q: What are your plans for after graduation?

A: I’m not really dead set on what I’m doing yet. I’m trying to be wide open to the possibilities. I would like to be involved in basketball in some shape or form, but I’m not going to limit myself.

Q: And, finally, what do you do when you’re not in classes or playing basketball?

A: I like to do a bunch of different things, but I’m really into this Community Outreach Project that I’m working on. It will be a minority bone marrow and blood drive at one of our basketball games. You can’t loose when you get involved with community service because helping out children and their families is a very rewarding experience

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