Accounting Senior Rewriting Record Books in Final Season
Jan. 9, 2014
Supercomet: Accounting senior Kyle Schleigh is a forward on the UT Dallas men's basketball team. Last season, he was named a third-team All-American and was a finalist for the Capital One Academic All-America team.
Kyle Schleigh may well be the best basketball player the UT Dallas Comets have ever had by the time his four-year career comes to an end.
In just three years, Schleigh has compiled an impressive basketball resume. Already a two-time member of the American Southwest Conference (ASC) All-Conference team, the 6-foot-7 forward was named ASC East Division Player of the Year and third-team All-American by a pair of national organizations after the 2012-13 campaign. Schleigh also was ASC East Division Player of the Week an unprecedented seven times during the 2012-13 campaign.
Last season, Schleigh became the first junior in school history to surpass 1,000 career points, moving up to third on the all-time list with 1,227 points. Even former Comet star Chris Barnes, who took over the career scoring lead two years ago, acknowledges that it’s only a matter of time before his personal record of 1,411 career points will be surpassed by his former teammate.
“Kyle is just an incredible talent,” said Barnes, who also happens to be Schleigh’s roommate. “We’ve all seen it over the last three years, and he’s not finished yet.”
Schleigh breaks toward the basket for a layup during a game against Louisiana College on Jan. 2. He scored 10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to notch the first triple-double in UT Dallas men's basketball history.
The 2012-13 season was particularly prolific for Schleigh. His scoring average of 21.4 points per game – the best ever by a UTD player – led the entire ASC and was one of the best in the nation.
But Schleigh’s game is not just about offense. After pulling down 266 rebounds in 2012-13 (still another school record), he already has more rebounds than any other player in school history. He also set a UTD record for career blocked shots after just two years.
“Kyle has the ability to do everything well,” said UTD head men’s basketball coach Terry Butterfield. “It’s very obvious he can score, but he’s also a great rebounder and we usually ask him to guard the other team’s best player on defense. He’s a guy who’s being asked to do anything and everything he can to help his team win.”
Schleigh has been asked to do that his entire career, and that’s what attracted Butterfield to him during his sophomore year in high school.
“I was not the best player on my team,” said Schleigh, who played at Houston Kingwood High School, a powerhouse in Texas high school basketball. “But we played a lot of defense in high school and that was my role – defend and rebound. My coaches always told me those were the keys to winning, and Coach Butterfield is all about the same thing. If you want to be good, it starts with defense and rebounding.”
Schleigh’s skills on the court are equaled by his commitment to academics. Twice a member of the Academic All-ASC team, Schleigh was voted first-team Academic All-District last season and was a finalist for the Capital One Academic All-America team.
Schleigh was recently accepted into UT Dallas’ Professional Program in Accounting, which places UTD students in internships with some of the top public accounting firms in the Dallas area.
UT Dallas Magazine
This article is a version of a longer story that appears in the Fall 2013 edition of the publication.
The UT Dallas men's and women's basketball teams are back in action. Check out the schedule of upcoming games.
“Kyle works as hard in the classroom as he does on the court,” said Amy Troutman, a senior lecturer in the Naveen Jindal School of Management and the director of the accounting program. “His dedication is not split 50/50 between academics and athletics. He has somehow figured out how to give 100 percent to both. I don’t know how he does it, but it all adds up.”
“Kyle is a very well-rounded individual,” Butterfield said. “He’s not one of those guys who’s here first to play basketball and also happens to be working on a degree. Kyle is here first to get that degree and become a success in life – and then take advantage of the opportunity to play college sports. I’d like to think his dedication to basketball is close to the same as his commitment to academics – but I can tell you he’s a very serious student.”
“That’s what I really like about Division III athletics,” Schleigh said. “The coaches see the bigger picture. They care about our classes, our grades and our families. They want us to become successful in life and on the court. That allows us to develop a closer relationship with our coaches and our teammates. I think that’s what attracted me to UTD.”
In addition to earning his degree, Schleigh is focused on another goal.
“The awards and records don’t mean that much to me,” he said. “I want to win. I would rather not win a single award or break any record if it would mean we could win a conference championship.”
During his career, the Comets have qualified for the ASC’s Championship Tournament three straight years but have yet to advance past the semifinal round.
“That’s the most impressive thing to me about Kyle,” said teammate Carter Nash, who also came to UTD in 2010. “Kyle is all about winning. He’s the consummate team player. He doesn’t care about the numbers and the awards. He’ll do whatever he needs to do to help the team win, whether that is score, rebound or defend.
“Kyle is one of the most talented players I’ve ever been around,” Nash continued. “But he’ll never be satisfied until we accomplish that ultimate goal. With him on the team, we’ve always got a chance.”