With Bucks Go Pro internship, Ohio State's Gene Brown ready to test waters of real world
There are opportunities that come with becoming a veteran college athlete. More than just chances for greater playing time, the final years of college can also provide new opportunities for players to take their first steps toward life after sports.
Ohio State’s Gene Brown III finds himself in just that spot. Entering his third season with the Buckeyes, Brown will spend his summer working at an internship through Ohio State’s “Bucks Go Pro 1.0” program, giving Brown his first taste of the “real world.”
“I feel like it’s a great first experience for me, honestly,” he said. “I’ve never had a job my whole life. It was always basketball, and my parents would provide for me. I never put time into an actual job, so this is my closest thing.”
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How the Bucks Go Pro internship works
Brown is one of 35 Buckeyes across 22 teams participating this summer in the program, which is run through the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute. For eight weeks, those athletes according to the program's website, will do hands-on work focusing on leadership, personal finance and networking.
For Brown, that means spending time with Ohio State’s LiFEsports program. He’ll help tutor kids from ages 8-14 in playing a variety of sports, ranging from lacrosse to softball.
“They come from East, South, West Columbus, some poverty areas, trauma going on at home, all different kinds of things with these kids,” he said. “It’s good to be able to make an impact on their life with whatever they have going on.”
Gene Brown III is looking forward to working with kids
Brown said he has some younger cousins and also enjoys spending time with the younger children of the Ohio State coaching staff, so relating to kids won’t be a challenge. Since signing up, Brown said he’s had to be on top of emails, filling out paperwork and logging into websites to make sure everything is set for the internship.
While making an impact on the lives of kids from around Columbus is a primary goal, Brown said learning what it takes to succeed outside of basketball is also paramount.
“I’ll get to step outside of that D-I scholar-athlete role where most of the stuff is catered for you and you don’t have to do too much,” he said. “If you have a problem, you take it to somebody. But now with this internship, if I have a problem, I handle it myself or take it to my higher-up. It’s a different experience that allows me to prepare myself for the real world.”
Gene Brown III will be one of Ohio State's experienced veterans this season
Tha future is closer than ever for Brown, a native of Conyers, Georgia, who has played in 55 games during the last two seasons and who averaged 17.0 minutes per game last year. Brown is one of only two returning OSU players who saw action in more than two games in 2021-22.
As he approaches the midpoint of his college career, the 21-year-old said he’s aware of the sand in the hourglass.
“It’s something that happens when you’re a junior, when you start to mature and your college life is getting closer to coming to an end,” Brown said. “Changing your mindset from being basketball-oriented all the time. Adjusting to, I have to work with my co-worker to do this or facilitate or communicate with my boss about things. It’s a different aspect of life that most D-I athletes don’t get to really see.”