TCU walk-on gets scholarship surprise from police officer

TCU guard Owen Aschieris (31) in action Jan. 15 against West Virginia. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU walk-on Owen Aschieris was in a team meeting this week when a university police officer suddenly interrupted and asked to speak to him.

“It freaked me out a little bit,” Aschieris said. “I was racking my brain trying to think of like what I had done wrong in the past, my whole life. It was crazy.”

The officer had a piece of paper in his hand and asked the sophomore guard to confirm it was his name listed on the sheet.

Aschieris wasn’t in trouble, though. That sheet was a scholarship award for the spring semester for the 6-foot-1, 165-pound guard, who a year ago was on the scout team for practices with the TCU women. (Click here to see video of the presentation.)

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“You can talk about championships or winning games or this, but the instances where we’ve been able to give a scholarship to a kid that has worked his tail off and given so much to our program is some of the most memorable moments that I’ve ever had,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.

Horned Frogs teammates jumped out of their seats and surrounded the stunned Aschieris, who a day later made his first appearance in a TCU game as a scholarship athlete, his sixth game overall.

Aschieris got a nice ovation from TCU fans when he entered with 5:48 remaining in Tuesday night’s 98-67 home win over West Virginia.

When the Mountaineers were assessed a technical foul during a timeout, Dixon sent Aschieris to the line and he scored his first college points by making both free throws. After another West Virginia technical about a minute later, Aschieris made two more free throws.

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“Over the summer, I actually think that I work pretty hard, and the minute Owen got on the team, he was pushing me to get in the gym,” TCU leading scorer Desmond Bane said. “I was trying to shoot with him, my shoulder was getting stiff, locking up on me. I know Owen is in there early in the morning and late at night. With that kind of hard work and dedication, your dreams are always going to come true.”

Aschieris didn’t play organized basketball until he was in seventh grade, but averaged 22 points and four assists per game as a senior at Sante Fe Christian School in San Diego. He then went to TCU, where he first was a practice player with the women’s team before joining the men’s team as a walk-on last summer.

“It’s really hard to describe because so much work went into this,” Aschieris said after his first game as a scholarship player. “It’s been like a crazy journey going from high school, not recruited at all, walking on for the women’s team. … Just to get that scholarship was crazy and this, too, adding on to it. I’m going to need a few days to just like let my mind chill.”