Drew Sawyer ’17 M’19 Finds New Meaning To The Phrase “Bigger Than Basketball”

Drew Sawyer

PLT4M Team In Action!

Drew Sawyer, PLT4M team member, is making headlines for his awesome work in the community! Check out this recent article featured from Endicott College, Drew’s alma mater. Thanks to Anthony Rinaldi for allowing us to repost! 

Drew Sawyer ’17 M’19 Finds New Meaning To The Phrase “Bigger Than Basketball”

BTSwork Instagram | Drew Sawyer Featured On In-Form Stats Podcast

Written by Anthony Rinaldi ’19
– Endicott Sports Information Graduate Assistant

BEVERLY, Mass. – If you had told Drew Sawyer ’17 M’19 (Norwalk, Conn.) today that he would have started a business training high-level high school, collegiate, and even professional basketball players he probably would have thought you were crazy.

Sawyer, a four-year member of the Endicott men’s basketball team, really did not have an interest in basketball after he stepped off the parquet as a student-athlete for the last time, against Middlebury in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. Like many student-athletes who put in countless hours and years of effort perfecting their craft, he was exhausted and ultimately fell out of love with the game.

After graduating from The Nest with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management, Sawyer flew right back to Beverly and served as the athletics department’s Graduate Assistant for Intramurals while getting his master’s degree in Athletic Administration.

During his time back at Endicott, to stay in shape, Sawyer picked up a basketball again and started putting himself through drills and playing pick-up games with his former teammates. Throughout the drills and games of pick-up, the two-time Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) champion found himself answering questions and giving tips to the guys he was playing with.

This started to create a framework for what is today Sawyer’s training platform Behind The Scenes (BTS) Work.


FROM CONCEPT TO CREATION

BTS started as something small. It all began with current Endicott men’s basketball senior Jordan Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) who would work out with Sawyer whenever they had mutual free time. This was a great place to start for Sawyer because he and Pettway have many similarities. They’re both from Connecticut, both around 5-11, both weigh around 175 pounds, and are both guards.

Pettway was Sawyer’s test-dummy to see what would work and what wouldn’t. They would bounce ideas off each other and Sawyer would ask Pettway questions about the drills and what he would want to see from a trainer.

They’ve now formed a great partnership as Pettway a Digital Media major is using his off-the-court skills to help promote Sawyer and BTS work with videos, highlight reels, and photos.

While he was testing things out on Pettway, Sawyer started to expand his network little by little working out with some more of the Endicott guys in his free time. He didn’t charge anyone but was using this first group as a way to test the waters to see if this is something that he could pull-off.

As he began to work with more and more athletes in his free time, Sawyer began to enjoy the mentor role that he found himself in. He then had a conversation with one of his former professors, Alyssa Czarnecki, who told him that if this was something he was enjoying that he should continue to do it.

Now, he works with players all across Massachusetts and Connecticut.

One of those players is current professional basketball player and former first-team All-Ivy for Yale, Brandon Sherrod.

Sherrod currently plays in Italy for Napoli Basketball averaging 13 points and eight rebounds a game.

The 6-6 center first started working with Sawyer in 2018, “The first impression that I had from working out with him [Sawyer] was that he knows how to push guys to their physical limits, all the while encouraging them and empowering them by showing them what it meant to work hard. His charm and energy are unmatched and I love the fact that he’s such a selfless, hardworking, and kind dude,” said Sherrod.

Working hard is one of the many life lessons that Sawyer tries to teach his clients through basketball.

“The biggest thing I try to tell guys when I’m working out with them is how much basketball can teach you about life,” he said. “It teaches them how to make connections, push through things, hard work, and sacrifice. But if you love it you are willing to push through those things to be great, which I think translates to real life,” he added.


DREW’S EVOLUTION

As BTS has grown, Sawyer has certainly evolved as a trainer. When asked about some of the main things he’s taken away in his four years as a trainer he said, “I have learned how to adapt. Each player is different and has different holes in their games that they need to work on. That leads me to come up with new drills and structuring a workout completely based on what that particular player needs at that moment,” he said.

One thing Sawyer is particularly proud of is that he never does the same workout with a player more than once. For him, it’s usually up to the client to decide what they want to work on during that training session.

This has helped Sawyer become a better listener, as well as a better trainer. While he is doing his best to try to teach and make his clients better, he is also learning from them and becoming a better trainer in the process.

“It has taught me that I can also learn from these athletes too, no matter what age they are,” Sawyer said.

While Sawyer does most of his work on the court, it’s the time off the court where Sawyer finds the most rewarding part of his work.

Sawyer does his best to either physically show up to his clients’ games or watch online all while working around his full-time job with PLT4M (Platform), which a strength and conditioning app for high schoolers and middle schoolers.

When he is watching, Sawyer is texting his clients about what he saw during their games, the good and even the bad, or if they executed something that they worked on during one of their workouts.

“The most rewarding part is players reaching out to me to let me know that a certain move that we worked on helped them in the game. Also, when parents of younger children say how much they want to come back and workout with me. It is truly a great feeling knowing that the kids and even pros enjoy the work that I put in with them,” Sawyer said.


BIGGER THAN BASKETBALL

For Sawyer, basketball has been a constant in his life and has had an amazing impact on who he is as an individual and he feels like it’s his responsibility to pass on the knowledge he learned from the game both on and off the court to the athletes he’s working with. So, when he has those parents reach out to him to express those sentiments it keeps pushing him to move forward.

That advancement has become more scarce during COVID-19, however. While he was able to work with some of his clients during the summer – helping out guys where and when he could  it was a less than ideal situation for everyone given the circumstances. But, Sawyer used this as a time to step back to evaluate BTS, but also think about how thankful he is for the past few years of his BTS journey.

“Taking a step back and not taking it for granted has been one of the main things for me during COVID,” Sawyer said. “When the restrictions went down in the summer there were still no gyms open, but when I was outside working out with the guys, I began to appreciate it even more and fell in love with the game of basketball again. It started to make my relationships with the athletes I was working out with bigger than basketball, just trying to help them out wherever I could.”

That line, “bigger than basketball” is really what this is all about for Sawyer. He doesn’t do it for the money or the clout. He does it because he cares. He cares about the game that has given him so much and wants to pass that down to whoever he can for as long as he can.

 

For the latest on Endicott Athletics, follow the Gulls on social media on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

(Photo Credit – David Le ’10)

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