A day in the life of a Brandeis athlete: Eric D’Aguanno ’20

A day in the life of a Brandeis athlete: Eric D’Aguanno ’20

March 13, 2020

This column attempts to highlight a variety of student-athletes, striving to unearth what the hectic life of a Brandeis athlete exactly entails. With this in mind, such a collection of stories will serve as a testament to the hard work, passion and resilience that athletes at Brandeis specifically embody, hopefully working to bridge the gap between student-athletes and the rest of the Brandeisian community.

Returning late at night from a special University Athletic Association (UAA) road trip, Eric D’Aguanno ’20 exits the plane alongside his teammates after a brief flight from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Just two days prior, the veteran shooting guard scored his 232nd three-point shot against opponents from Case Western, becoming Brandeis’s all-time leader in baskets drained from behind the arc. The three-year team captain goes to bed level-headed, however, knowing that he will wake up the next day with the privilege and the opportunity to continue guiding his young team.

The next morning arrives quite quickly, as D’Aguanno’s alarm at 7:30 a.m. sharp signals him to get out of bed and begin another week of intense studying, lengthy practices and mental preparation for more conference play that awaits him the upcoming Friday. The sociology and business double major emerges from his Charles River dorm room and heads to the main center of campus, finding himself in Upper Usdan grabbing a coffee and socializing with friends and teammates before his work truly commences. 

After spending the morning completing readings for class and simultaneously crafting his busy schedule in his ever-so-handy Google Calendar, D’Aguanno hikes to the Mandel Center for the Humanities to fulfill his position as a Teaching Assistant. Under Professor Sava Berhané, D’Aguanno functions as a resource for his peers that are taking a class titled “Leading in the Era of Diversity,” an elective in the business school that fosters an understanding of working professionally with others who might be different from oneself. 

Following the end of class, D’Aguanno squeezes in some time for a quick bite to eat, then makes his way down to Gosman for a demanding basketball practice and a much-needed recovery session thereafter in the athletic training room. On a night with little school work to accomplish, the student-athlete decompresses with a few highly competitive games of Mario Kart after dinner, competing against his friends that double as both roommates and teammates. It is only then that D’Aguanno goes off to bed, knowing that his duties will continue when he wakes the next morning to do it all again.

When asked what the greatest part of the student-athlete experience is here at Brandeis, D’Aguanno replied with no hesitation saying, “my guys.” Much like many others who compete at the varsity level, D’Aguanno emphasized that moments spent in the locker room with one’s teammates, or rather the time they spend with each other off the court, make this lifestyle and this experience both unforgettable and worth it. He said, “Having those shared goals are huge in developing relationships, which is what I think really brings us together as a group.” It is this sense of camaraderie that serves to unify the men’s basketball team, with D’Aguanno using his passion for the game, voice of reason and infectiously positive attitude to lead his fellow teammates through the strenuous challenges that being a student-athlete entails.

Inevitably, senior year has rolled around for D’Aguanno, as he bore the word “Judges” one last time across his chest when taking on rivals from New York University late in February. Reminiscing on his previous four years here, the 1,000 point scorer notes that he has broken out of his shell, has developed a strong sense of vocality and has learned to embrace his goofiness around his equally silly teammates. He commented, “I want to leave a mark on this place. Through this experience, I have learned to approach every situation with a positive attitude and a smile, which I hope rubs off on the guys and the community.”

D’Aguanno is not done yet, as he has recently been admitted to the Heller School Social Impact MBA Program and wishes to return to the court alongside the Judges in a different fashion next year, this time volunteering as a graduate assistant coach. Leadership—whether that be in the classroom or in the gym—seems to be a common theme for D’Aguanno, who has proven that a joyful outlook, a spur of confidence and strength in the face of adversity can propel one forward and inspire others at the same time. It is with that mentality that D’Aguanno approaches all aspects of his life, as his legacies stretch far beyond simple basketball stat lines, but are rather reflected in how he has continuously led others through his short time here at Brandeis.

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