If you attended an SJU men’s basketball game this season, you may have noticed someone buzzing around the bench. No, I’m not talking about the guy in the Hawk costume… I’m talking about the men’s basketball team’s manager. Bringing girl power onto the court, senior, Lexi Hopper powers the court and supports our Hawk basketball men from locker room comradely to traveling for A10 tournaments. I caught up with Lexi over break to talk about her final season with the team, her plans for after graduation, and everything in between.
Major: Sports Marketing
Hometown: Lumberton, NJ
Involvement at SJU: Senior Manager for Men’s Basketball, Senior Vice President of Delta Sigma Pi, 3 year member of University Student Senate, Club Volleyball
HC: When was your first season as a basketball manager and how did you get the job?
LH: I’ve been a manager for the men’s team since my freshman year. I had always thought that I would play a sport in college, but as I got older I decided pursuing an academic and professional career in sport would allow me to do what I love for much longer. My mom and I decided to have a girl’s day in Philly and visit SJU one last time before officially enrolling… I decided to sneak into the basketball offices and somehow got the courage to ask Martelli how I could become a part of the team – the rest is history! I would encourage any student to get involved, being a manager is completely volunteer based!
HC: Wow you go girl! So what exactly do you do as a manager?
LH: I’d like to think I’m somewhat of a combination of a manager, player, coach, study buddy, super-fan, friend, and anything and everything in between! Managers help run all games and practices, which can mean anything from hopping on the court and into drills, facilitating travel plans for away games, (laughs) and I’ve even spent an afternoon with a player at the dentist after he had a tooth knocked out! I spend a lot of time with these guys… Hagan has truly become my home away from home.
(Where’s Waldo?, Lexi edition)
HC: That’s crazy that’s a lot more than I thought being a manager was! Does being the only girl manager have any effect on you?
LH: (Laughs) I get asked this question a lot… most of my friends have asked me at least once if I’ve ever dated a player or if being the only girl complicates my relationship with them. Every single guy on the team is an amazing person, but there’s nothing cooler than having 15 really tall and athletic big brothers looking out for me and I would never want to jeopardize that… they also see what I look like at 8 AM on Saturday practices so that probably scares them off from trying anyway. Aside from not being able to be in the locker room at certain times, my role is no different than my male counterparts.
HC: Good for you for having the confidence to do it! Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled with the team?
LH: Hmmm well, I’m currently lounging in my king-sized bed in Brooklyn and getting ready before our first A10 Tournament game… This is pretty cool.
HC: So cool! Speaking of, can you tell us about the awesome job you landed for after graduation?!
LH: Yes! I’m so excited to start working for the San Antonio Spurs in June! After doing some serious networking on LinkedIn and going to a sales conference in Pittsburgh, I ended up with full-time offers for different sales positions from 12 professional sports teams. I’m a self-proclaimed country girl at heart, and felt that the Spurs’ goals and values mirrored a lot of what I’ve loved about my experience at SJU. I visited SA in January and completely fell in love with the city, its people, and everything about my new team. Go Spurs Go!
HC: Wow you’re going to be living a sports marketing major’s dream, congrats! Do you have a quote or motto you like to live by?
LH: Thank you!! And yes, “do what makes you happy.” Which sounds really cheesy…or like it belongs in a fortune cookie, but it really is true. I could pay my college tuition if I had a dollar for every time I second-guessed the cause of a mistake I’ve made, but I try to surround myself with good people who support me and keep me grounded. I’m a huge over thinker but I try to remind myself that when things seem really complicated, I’ll never regret following my heart and doing what I know will genuinely make me happy and my friends and family will support my choice.
(Lexi, with her parents, Fr. Gillespie, Phil Martelli, and Don DiJulia at senior day)
HC: Love that, really great advice…Looking back on your SJU career is there a memory or moment that sticks out to you as a favorite?
LH: Aside from finding out I was a campus celeb?? Okay well, last semester I was selected as one of two students to present to the board of trustees and several business CEO’s on a topic relating to my sports marketing studies. I worked with Professor Stephanie Tryce to discuss current issues regarding racial equality in the industry. Several members of the board reached out to congratulate us and it was an honor to know we’d had such a positive impact on people who wanted to help promote positive change in sports!…And of course, I can’t fail to mention seeing my Hawks have such great success last season, going to the NCAA tourney has always been a dream of mine.
HC: Wow that’s awesome! Okay last question, what’s the best advice you’ve been given by someone from SJU?
LH: Professor Tryce has become my mentor and one of my closest friends at St. Joe’s – every student should get to know this woman, she is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. In my academic career, she has always reminded me to stand up for myself and for what is right, and “do what makes me happy.” My job as a basketball manager isn’t always glamorous, and I’d totally be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely terrified to move 2,000 miles away from home, and I know that I’ve made a lot of mistakes and will make plenty more of them… But I am doing and pursing what I love and I’ve never been happier.
(Lexi, pictured second from left, and other members of DSP at this year’s activity fair)
Lexi has really taken advantage of every opportunity that has come her way during her time on Hawk Hill. If you see her on campus, wish her luck before her big move to San Antonio!