A look into FAMU’s rookie of the year

M.J. Randolph sets up the FAMU offense.
Photo Courtesy of Sydne Vigille

We’ve all heard the iconic saying that hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. But what if you have an intense work ethic as well as undeniable talent?

M.J. Randolph is a prime example of if you believe in your potential and promote yourself through showcasing your hard work that there is no talking or arguing that needs to be done.

But high school and collegiate sports are just like night and day according to Randolph.

“There were many differences for me transitioning into collegiate basketball from high school on and off the court. Off the court, time management became important with practice, weights, and class. I had to learn how to balance everything out throughout the day.”

Time management is typically a skill that most college students nurture as they matriculate through the university level, but Randolph seems to have mastered it in just a semester. This year Randolph’s transition although challenging like other freshman, he still made it a point to achieve in the classroom and the court. He increased his strength and physical ability  while also remaining diligent in the classroom and becoming a Dean's list student.

Adjusting from high school life to college life has several transitions including new opponents that aren’t so small.

“The major difference on the court was that players are more athletic and able to do more things that high school players are able to do. I don’t look at the transition as a struggle. I look at it as a learning experience,” Randolph said.

my dad started me off playing above my age group, so I became accustomed to playing against older guys,” Randolph said. “They were bigger, stronger, and faster but it paid off as I grew as a player. I don’t really look at the age of the opponent. I just go in the game and work hard and compete.”

Even though his mature mannerisms make you think otherwise, Randolph is still only a freshman and with that usually comes some fear when entering new, larger environments.

Being an athlete comes with many gracious triumphs and heartbreaking downfalls, but steady motivation is the key to making it through.

“I stay motivated by knowing it is a blessing to play on this level. Many people from my city (Pensacola) don’t have the opportunity to go on and play on the next level so I cherish every moment. My family is also my motivation.”

Randolph embodied when much is given, much is expected. Because of this, one would think his life becomes very hectic, he disproves this by explaining his very strict schedule.

“A day in the life of M.J. would be getting up, going to breakfast before class, attending my classes, going to study hall for a few hours, practice then going back home to finish everything else, followed by sleep.”

Throughout Randolph’s athletic career, he has won various awards and championships but getting MEAC Rookie of the Week not once, but time after time again means the most to Randolph.

“It means a lot to win Rookie of the Week multiple times. It keeps me focused and motivated. My focus is not to be Rookie of the Week, it is to work hard and follow my role and job that my coaches ask of me to help the team win,” Randolph said.

Randolph’s FAMU career is just getting started and with his potential No.3 could end up hung forever in the rafters of Al Lawson.