Transferring schools as a student-athlete is not one of the easiest things to do when you have a new program to learn, new teammates and a new campus.
Feb. 1, 2013
Transferring schools as a student-athlete is not one of the easiest things to do when you have a new program to learn, new teammates and a new campus. However, there are those athletes that are able to fit right in like they were meant to be there. This is the case for Fredrik Ask and Ben Lee, two transfer students joining the ranks of the Arizona Wildcat men's tennis team.
"They've adjusted great," head coach Tad Berkowitz said. "The guys have welcomed them very well. They fit in great."
Lee, a Connecticut native and Louisiana-Lafayette transfer, arrived on the Arizona campus fall 2012 in preparation for the upcoming season.
"The adjustment has been really good," Lee said. "Obviously, I had some good friends in Louisiana that I had to leave behind. It was tough transferring but I immediately felt really welcomed by the entire team and coaching staff.
Berkowitz's impression of Lee's adjustment is nothing short of impressive.
"The thing with Ben is that he brings the same positive attitude everyday to practice," Berkowitz said. "He takes care of his business in the classroom as well. That earns a lot of respect with the guys on the team."
Ask, a native of Norway, has proven his impact to his coach with the same positive adjustment having only arrived this past January from Wisconsin.
"It's the same thing with Fred," Berkowitz said. "His work ethic is very strong. Right out of the gate he was on the practice courts getting ready for the season. That builds a lot of credibility with our returning guys."
Having been on campus for nearly a month, Ask is getting used to the new location.
"The weather is definitely different than in Wisconsin," Ask said. "Everything is a little bit different but it's better because here I am able to play outdoors whereas I had to play indoors because of the cold and snow. The first days on campus I was confused but now I'm figuring it out."
Both transfers are more than happy with their decisions to come to Arizona.
"The University of Arizona is in one of the best conferences in the country," Lee said. "Just having that competition and that name recognition excites me the most about being here.
Ask also has similar feelings regarding his transfer to Arizona.
"The Big Ten conference was strong but the Pac-12 is one of the strongest in the country," Ask said. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to come here. I want to test myself with the best competition in collegiate tennis."
Not only do the two enjoy the Arizona atmosphere but they have also found their new teammates to be as welcoming as family.
"It's great," Lee said. "I feel like everybody is on the same page. Everyone, whether you're a freshman or senior, works hard and fights to get into the lineup. It's a great balance between having great camaraderie and being competitive with each other without forgetting to support one another."
As Lee and Ask begin the next chapter of their tennis careers at Arizona, they are more than excited to make a contribution to the school they now call home.
"I want to lead by example," Lee said. "I think I have a great work ethic and have a strong internal drive to play tennis. I don't need to necessarily be the best tennis player or academic student but I want to lead by my example of trying my hardest with 100 percent effort."
Along with Lee, Ask hopes that his past experiences can help both himself and his teammates this upcoming season.
"I hope I can make the team better and do the best I can to motivate the guys," Ask said. "Hopefully we can do really well this year. I believe we can."
Despite transferring recently, Berkowitz is sure that with their skills and the ease of their transfer, the two experienced additions will make a large impact for the team in the spring, helping the already 3-0 squad.
"Even though they are new to our team, they bring a sense of experience," Berkowitz said. "Even though it's their first year at Arizona, they know what it's like with the rigors of Division I tennis. I think they can help us with some valuable experience competing at this elite level."