There is nothing glamorous about being a walk-on on the Queens College men's basketball team. This isn't Duke or North Carolina, where saying "I'm on the basketball team" has its share of campus perks. About the only advantage to being a non-scholarship player at Queens is the free gear, but that's not why Brian Harrison and Zeeshan Hazara are doing it anyway. "It's good to be here, even if it might not come with the glitz and glamour," Harrison said. "It's still something respectable."Harrison, who played high school ball at Van Buren, is in his second year as a walk-on, although he is red-shirting after surgery on both of his knees to repair chronic tendonitis. Hazara hasn't played organized basketball after being cut during tryouts his sophomore year at Newtown."Back then I was intimidated, but then I went down to parks and gained more confidence," said Hazara, who is known as 'Z'. "I'm more familiar with street ball but I'm learning about college ball."In a normal season, the walk-on's role is to prepare the starters for games. They run the scout defense and push the starters to work hard. Their only reward is to suit up and sit on the bench and maybe, just maybe, get into a game at the end of a blowout.But at Queens, where three players were kicked off for violating team policy and another left for personal reasons, Harrison and Hazara are vital just to run a 5-on-5 scrimmage as two of the 10 players on the team. "Usually the 10th guy is a scholarship guy, but here he's a walk-on, so when you get up and down sometimes it's not the best," Queens coach Kyrk Peponakis said. "But to their credit, they've come very far to where they are now."Despite their limitations, the walk-ons don't get treated with kid gloves from Peponakis. At practice Friday, Harrison was chided for missing an assignment on an offensive set as much as Marvin Lawrence or any of the other scholarship players.
©2007 Community News Group
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