If you happen to walk through the HPER center on many days, you will see junior Andrew Knopp working on his shooting, dribbling and defense on the basketball courts.
Knopp said he considers basketball his passion, an escape from the stress that life may bring and a place to meet new friends. Knopp was born in Conway and moved to Greenbrier when he was in the fourth grade with his parents and younger brother, Parker.
He was active in sports like taekwondo at a young age, but eventually became interested in basketball. He started playing basketball for a program called “Upward Bound” in the fourth grade, and eventually made his way to his high school’s varsity basketball team: the Greenbrier Panthers.
While he cherishes many memories from his time at Greenbrier High — like his senior night on the basketball team — Knopp he said he aims to focus more on future successes instead of dwelling on the past.
“I want to succeed in life. I have a drive for success,” Knopp said. “I couldn’t do it alone, though. I have friends and family that motivate me and keep me accountable. I can lean on them when I need anything.”
Knopp is majoring in athletic training because he is interested in sports. He said he enjoys the thought of being a first responder to help those who are hurt. He hopes to get a job at the college or high school level because he wants to spend time with his future family instead of enduring the extensive travel required by professional sports’ athletic training.
Knopp said he doesn’t mind having to move out of state for job opportunities, but he eventually wants to settle down in Greenbrier.
“It’s a good community to be in,” Knopp said. “It’s real safe for children, and the schooling is really good. I want my [future]children to have that good education.”
Knopp said he came to UCA originally due to its affordable tuition and close proximity — and the fact that he likes purple. Knopp believes that the conveniences UCA offered him paid off because he said other colleges can’t prepare him as well as UCA has for his future career.
“Here, they let you work on athletes when they think you have learned enough,” Knopp said. “At other colleges, you’re basically a glorified water boy for four years in the athletic training practice. There are so many opportunities here for hands-on training, and that’show I learn.”
Although Knopp pursues his education fervently, he said his top priority is his faith in God.“I want to please God in what I do, because I wouldn’t be here without God, so I don’t mind letting God have control of my life,” Knopp said.
His education, faith and basketball playing keeps him busy, but, in his spare time, Knopp likes to draw and be a “professional shower singer.” Knopp is a student of many hats and passions. He said he focuses on overcoming adversity in the pursuit of his education and future to help others in their adversities.
Photo by Taylor Sone