Basketball Standout Wallace Tucker ’21 Opted for a Rigorous Education—on and off the Court

Wallace Tucker '21 (number 55) on the court
By Kristin Yorke ’20
February 22, 2020

Wallace Tucker ’21 has three friends and former high school teammates currently playing D-1 basketball or football. Three more are playing in the NBA. Tucker is a starter for the winning D-III Colby basketball team, an education and government double major, and is traveling globally doing important research on the subject of privilege in elite high schools. Any regrets?

“None,” Tucker says.

At just 5’ 10”, Tucker is still a soaring presence on the basketball court. He averaged 7.9 rebounds and 11.3 points per game last year. After an ankle injury sidelined him for much of the middle of this season, he finished strong with a game-winning three-pointer in the final regular season conference game against Wesleyan, sending Colby into Saturday’s NESCAC championship against Bates with a 20-2 record.

It’s been a successful year—and not just on the basketball court.

Wallace Tucker ’21 hits game-winning three-point shot vs. Wesleyan Feb. 14.

As research assistant to Professor of Education Adam Howard, Tucker has been conducting interviews for a study that explores the perspectives and experiences of alumni of elite all-boys schools in the United States on their learning and experiences at these schools. In his previous years at Colby, he has been working with Howard on a global ethnography of global citizenship education at elite schools in six different countries (Australia, Chile, Denmark, Ghana, Jordan, and Taiwan).

For that project, Tucker went to a school in Taiwan to collect data and to put into practice some of the changes to the school’s community service program that were initiated by this research. The study explores how these schools prepare students “to be flexibly mobile, to imagine themselves leaders within a globalized world, and to thrive in the hypercompetitive and unpredictable global-knowledge economy.”

Other less-skilled players didn’t understand why Tucker—after a knee injury knocked him down the lists of D-1 scouts—would want to play D-III basketball at a faraway place like Colby. “My friends thought college was just to ‘get smart.’ They didn’t understand why I couldn’t go to a college in Atlanta if I wanted an education.” His friends couldn’t comprehend Tucker’s journey. Some of them, Tucker said shaking his head with a smile, “didn’t even know Maine was a state.”

His friends couldn’t imagine leaving Atlanta, but Tucker could. His adaptability and openness gave him a bigger vision for his future and a broader perspective of the world around him. As his team was about to begin the NESCAC tournament Feb. 22, Tucker was ready to do everything he can do to contribute. As his academic research continues, and he explores models of global secondary education, it can be expected that his impact will extend far beyond the court.