Scholar-Athlete Profile: Christina Marinacci
Nov. 9, 2011
As told to Jeremi Dudu, USC Sports Information Student Intern.
Jeremi Dudu: You graduated high school as one of the top players in the nation- entering your Junior year what academic and basketball goals do you have for the remainder of your time here at USC?
Christina Marinacci: As far as basketball goes, obviously to make it in to the NCAA Tournament and make a good run. It would be awesome to win an NCAA title, but just to get into the tournament and make a really good run would be great. I think we have a good chance to be Pac-12 champs this year, which is a goal for the team as well. As far as academics, I've started to take academics a lot more seriously in college than I did in high school. I've done a lot of work with our student radio station KXSC. I'm a Communication major and hope to be a sports broadcaster after graduation. Until then, I just want to get ahead as far as I can to prepare myself to get a job in the future.
(JD): You've been acknowledged for your resilience as an athlete- do you have that same tenacity academically? Where does your motivation come from?
(CM): Yes. I think my motivation comes from wanting to earn myself a career after college. I really aspire to be a sports broadcaster. I think that would be fun because I've always been involved with sports. It's been one of my passions. I don't want to slip during college and miss out on an opportunity that can get me ahead and prepare me to get a job. I've definitely been a lot more motivated in school and just working towards my goals like everyone else.
(JD): Do you think your charisma on the basketball court influenced you to want to pursue a communication degree?
(CM): Yes, I think so. Being an athlete I've played sports since I was 5 years old. I started off with soccer and then played softball, volleyball and basketball in high school. Being an athlete my entire life I just understand what it takes and how much work goes into being successful. I enjoy studying other athletes. It's not like celebrities where people are famous because their parents were wealthy. All these athletes got to where they are now through hard work and personal sacrifice. I really enjoy studying that. To be able to have that as a career and studying the scores, updates, what people are doing and accomplishing in the sports world, I just can't think of a better career than that.
(JD): Have any of your communication classes indirectly taught you how to effectively communicate better on and off the basketball court?
(CM): Yes, I've taken a lot of classes. I took Jeff Felinzer's sports and media class, which kind of combined the communication and business aspect of sports that I really enjoyed learning about. It gave me a different mindset about how to approach sports. Stacy Smith's class and Ken Sereno's class gave me different approaches on how to deal with people, deal with different situations and different environments, and how to present yourself and different communication techniques.
(JD): Which class has challenged you most?
(CM): Geology 130 because it focused on astronomy and the forces of matter. It didn't pertain to my interests so it was hard for me to really study it and focus in class. There was also a lot of mathematics involved. I'm a Communication major- I've never really enjoyed math or excelled at it. But that was the one that gave me the biggest struggle.
(JD): Have you had the opportunity to take a Sports broadcasting class at USC?
(CM): I haven't taken a particular class, but Felinzer's class prepared me for understanding the sports world and what to look out for. One of the major keys about being a sports broadcaster is having that experience with sports. Yes, I'm an athlete, but there's more to it than just the physical aspect. That's a class that has prepared me. Through my internship with KXSC I have done sideline reporting for the football games, and color commentated for volleyball games. I'm gaining a lot of good experience from those opportunities.
(JD): What has been the best part about attending USC?
(CM): There are so many aspects of USC and there are so many different opportunities available, which is one of the main reasons I decided to come to school here. We have a great Communication school at Annenberg, which is going to set me up for the future. I love the whole rivalry with UCLA, I love going to the football games, and I love the traditions. The overall academics are going to prepare me for starting that career and getting a job as a sports broadcaster. There isn't a ton of student support for athletics, but we're working on it. The athletic administration really show their support, which a lot of students don't get. Just being in LA there are so many different opportunities. We have ESPN networks downtown. You can't go anywhere else to find those kinds of opportunities.
(JD): How has being close to home and your family benefited you as a student athlete?
(CM): It's benefited me a great deal. I come from Orange County and it's just about a 45-minute drive home. If I need to get home and get that home-cooked meal or just get away from the stress of school and basketball for a day, I have that opportunity, which a lot of others don't. It's refreshing to see my family. I have a younger brother who's in high school and a ton of little cousins. Watching them grow up, having them at my games and being a part of their lives has really meant a lot to me. I wasn't considering any schools that were far from home or even out of California.
(JD): Have you felt any pressure as a college athlete since you became a McDonald's All-American in high school?
(CM): Yes, you're always going to have that title of being a McDonald's All-American. There's always some pressure to do well and rise above the others, but at the same time, that was high school. Everybody is good in college. It's just a different type of play at a different level. I felt the pressure freshman year coming into it, but now it just goes away. There are people who are going to do well whether they were a McDonald's All-American or not. It's about the work you put into it. As for me, I don't feel the pressure anymore.
(JD): How have the challenges of being a student athlete helped you grow as a person?
(CM): The biggest challenge for me was time management. In high school I had really bad time management, but in college, you travel all the time so you have to get your homework done on the road. You have to communicate with your teachers if you're going to be absent and plan when to turn things in if you're not going to be there. There are so many things you have to pay attention to. I've learned to plan things out much better. I have everything written down in my own little agenda so nothing comes as a surprise. I don't forget about anything. But in terms of getting enough sleep, that's one thing I do need to work on a little bit.
(JD): Do you participate in any other activities on or off campus?
(CM): I'm in a sorority called Kappa Alpha Theta. I joined last year and it's just a great way to meet people outside of the athletic community because otherwise it's really easy to get wrapped up in your sport. We only see people around Galen Center or Heritage Hall. Freshman year that was something that I was really missing-friends outside of athletics who I could just go get dinner with or go shopping with. That has really changed my experience. Not being known solely as a basketball player has been great. I've met so many people and it's helped enhance my experience at USC.
The No. 23 USC women's basketball team opens the 2011-12 season Friday (Nov. 11) at 5:00 p.m. as they host Fresno State.