Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Date in Cornell Basketball History: The New York Times Profiles John Bajusz

Continuing our regular series, A Date in Cornell Basketball History, below an article from the New York Times, published on January 25, 1987 on Cornell's John Bajusz (class of '87).


This semester, the second in which John Bajusz has enrolled in both Cornell's College of Enginering and Johnson Graduate School of Management, he takes seven courses that bring some five hours of classes each weekday. He is also in his fourth season as a starter on the basketball team.

Bajusz's first class begins at 9:30 A.M. and practice is at 3 P.M., leaving 30 minutes during the day for him to relax and take what he calls ''a leisurely lunch.''

After practice, the team always eats dinner together, and Bajusz usually gets back to his room by 8:30 P.M.. Then he starts his schoolwork.

After three hours of work in his room, and providing his half-hour lunch was the only break he took, Bajusz should have about an hour of free time. Hectic Routine

For four years, he has followed a schedule that some might call rather hectic (he cannot see why). But by the time he graduates this May, Bajusz (pronounced BAY-us) will have a degree in operations research/industrial engineering, have gained a full year's worth of credits toward a master's degree in business administration, and scored more points on the basketball court than anyone else in Cornell history.

On Jan. 17 in Providence, R.I., Bajusz broke the school's career scoring record with a 32-point effort in a victory over Brown. After helping Cornell beat Hamilton, 89-86, last Tuesday he had 1,435 points entering last night's game against Columbia. The old mark of 1,411 was set by Ken Bantum in 1985.

''After breaking the freshman scoring record,'' he said, ''I kind of knew this would happen. It's an especially nice way to go out because, although I have no regrets about coming here, I was recruited by better basketball schools and so sometimes I wonder how good I really am. This doesn't really tell me, but It'll certainly make for a good memory.'' Lots of Opportunity

In the end, Bajusz, who grew up in suburban Chicago, chose Cornell because he it offered ''opportunities too rich to refuse.'' And he has taken full advantage of those opportunities.

Not many college seniors in America are being considered for employment by top enginering firms and professional basketball teams simultaneously. But, then again, probably not many of the nation's top collegiate basketball players take courses such as digital system simulation.

''Sometimes I can't figure out how he gets it all done,'' Mike Dement, who is in his first year as head coach of the Big Red, said. ''It shows in practice a little; you can see he's somewhat rundown at times. But I've never seen it in a game - that's why he gets away with it.''

''Sure, I'm busy,'' Bajusz said. ''But I'm doing things I enjoy so it's not that difficult. I'll admit it, every now and then I'll miss a TV show I'd really liked to have watched, and sometimes I don't get as much sleep as I'd like, but I can live with it.''

Other than that it seems that Bajusz handles it all with ease.

''Oh yeah, I forgot about the programming,'' he said, remembering how little he cares for the wave of computer classes he has been required to take lately. ''There have been one or two nights where I just can't finish, and had to hand in incomplete programs the next day.''

But Bajusz has had time to be 3.0 student in the classroom, and an even more impressive athlete on the court. Array of Honors

Bajusz has never missed a game with the Big Red. He was the Ivy League's rookie of the year his first season, all-league his second and third, and will probably be the league's player of the year after this season.

His shooting has been the key. After the Brown game, his season's scoring average was 21.3 points and his career shooting percentage was .551 (1,037 attempts), which is slightly under the Cornell record of .564 set by Jim Maglisceav in 1965 (284 attempts). Last season, he made .899 percent of his foul shots, which ranked seventh in the nation - he has missed only 47 of 319 free throws while at Cornell.

''He's got a pure shot and a quick release. Nobody squares-up to the basket like John,'' Dement said. ''In our shooting drills, he gets bored. It's too simple for him to just make a jumper, so he'll try some off-ballance stuff. It's a little irritating for me, but I can understand.''

Most important to Bajusz right now, is that the Big Red win the Ivy League championship. Cornell has not won the title since 1954 - 10 years before Bajusz was born - and in his first three seasons, the Big Red lost the crown in the final weekend. This season, after a 2-1 start in the Ivies, he believes they will win.

After the season, and after graduation, Bajusz will certainly have plenty of options. He hopes for a shot in the N.B.A., and is also considering basketball in Europe. Then there is also engineering or another year of school to get an M.B.A.

''I haven't really had time to think about it yet,'' he said.

Aside from that, and a couple of computer programs, it seems Bajusz has had time to do just about everything else.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

fine player and a nice guy