Shaw junior uses experience in Army to help lead Bears
Posted February 27, 2014
Every time 28-year-old Jeffrey Legree takes part in a basketball practice or game at Shaw University, he gives it his all.
After spending eight years in the Army, he can't help it.
"I take nothing for granted," he said.
A standout player for his high school in Oakland, Calif., Legree made the choice after graduation to join the Army on the GI Bill. He served two tours in Iraq, and how he's making a difference at Shaw, both on and off the court.
Legree said his eye-opening experiences half a world away influence everything he does now.
"How the children are fed, where they live, living conditions and the way we live. Some people still complain," Legree said of the conditions in Iraq.
The lessons he learned as a soldier are now transferring to the classroom and court at Shaw..
"I would say time management has been the key I've learned while in the military, and it's helped me maintain a 3.67 GPA here at Shaw," he said. Legree is a junior majoring in psychology and recreation management. After college, he wants to pursue a coaching career.
Legree's journey to Raleigh almost took a detour through Ettrick, Va. A coach at Virginia State University was recruiting him to play for the Trojans, but that coach left to become an assistant at Shaw. Legree followed.
"He said, 'Jeff, you coming with me.' I said, 'Coach, as long as I can play, I just need a couple minutes. A couple minutes a game just to live a dream.'"
Shaw head coach Cleo Hill Jr. said Legree's intangibles off the court are what make him a leader for the Bears.
"When you talk about his maturity level, his character and integrity, honoring our country in that way, that's huge," he said.
Legree said every day is a blessing.
"I just take it one day at a time," he said.
Shaw's journey through the CIAA Tournament ended Wednesday night with a 74-59 loss to St. Augustine's University. Legree tallied four points, three rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes for the Bears.