Now in his fourth year of a basketball scholarship at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in the United States, former Rotorua Boys' High School student Logan Elers is making a name for himself both on and off the court.
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While an outstanding basketball player, Rotorua's Logan Elers has long known how important it is to also do the hard yards in the classroom.
In August 2016 the former Rotorua Boys' High School student took up a scholarship to study and play basketball at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
For the last two years he has been named in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Academic first team, but this year he went one better and was named Academic Player of the Year. To be eligible for consideration, a student-athlete must carry a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (GPA) as well as excelling on the court. Elers studies Metallurgical Engineering with a 3.823 GPA.
February has been a month of major milestones for Elers as he also reached 1000 points to go along with the 500 rebounds he has racked up for the side.
"It is an honour to receive the award and it is very rewarding to have my achievements on and off the court being recognised throughout the conference. I credit most of the success on the court to my teammates and coaches for putting me in a position to excel, as obviously this award cannot be received without playing great basketball and winning a few games.
"In the classroom I just credit the success to the late hours and the effort I put into my assignments. It is easy to just slide by and do the minimum amount of work, however that doesn't slide with me."
He said since high school he has placed as much importance on academic success as playing basketball and both were key factors when choosing which college to attend.
"Obviously, academic success is something I care about a lot. It started to be really important to me in high school, and it basically carried on ever since. When choosing a school that best suited me, I know it had to have a balance between basketball and education.
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"I often tell others who are considering taking up scholarships in the US that it is almost as much about what you do in the classroom compared to what you can do on the court or field. In my instance basketball and my athletic career has a set limit to how far I can take it so it's always important to have that education to fall back on once basketball is over."
His 1000-point, 500-rebound milestone suggests an ability to perform at both ends of the court.
"I've always been more of a defensive-orientated guy as my offensive abilities have never been the flashiest or the best on the court. I just pride myself on fundamentals and doing whatever my team needs of me.
"Obviously, only a select few players in the history of the programme have been lucky enough to play for as long as I have and excel for as long as I have, which means belonging to the 1000-point club is something I take huge pride in. I wouldn't be anywhere without my teammates and my coaches putting me in position to succeed though."
Elers is in his last semester of senior year (fourth year) and at present is gearing up for the conference playoffs next month. He will graduate with a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering at the end of the semester in May.
"I have already been accepted into the accelerated master's programme here at South Dakota School of Mines, which should take only an additional year to gain that degree. I will be attempting to gain my thesis in materials science and engineering and should graduate with that masters in May 2021."