Phoenix O'Rourke looks to post-basketball future

The life of a student-athlete is in many ways like a Cirque Du Soleil act. Aside from lifting weights, conditioning and practicing in the off-season, players also have to deal with the same responsibilities as other students.

Phoenix O'Rourke San Francisco State
San Francisco State basketball star Phoenix O'Rourke looks back on a successful collegiate career. Photo by Erik Verduzco.

San Mateo native Phoenix O’Rourke remembers how he balanced playing ball for the SF State men’s basketball team with school work for four years.

“Student-athletes do not have a chip on their shoulders,” he said. “They just go through things that other students don’t. I had 18 hours or so of work a week. At times it can be tiring and draining definitely, but it has its rewards. You get to meet a lot of cool people.”

Under first-year head coach Paul Trevor, O’Rourke played his final collegiate game March 1 against the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos. In 39 minutes, he scored nine points, collected four rebounds and recorded five steals in the Gators’ first ever playoff home game.

While SF State lost 69-66 in overtime, they did have a 16-11 overall record and received the fourth seed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

“The future of the program looks really positive,” O’Rourke said. “Coach Trevor is one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever had. He has one of the best coaching techniques and is going to bring in more talent. With the success this school has had over the last four years, it will bring more people and continued success. It could only get better from here.”

Phoenix, a business management major, has left an impressive mark at SF State. He was named to the Department of Athletics Honor Roll for all seven semesters of his athletic career and was also a recipient of the 2009-2010 Dr. Hal Charnofsky Award for being the most Outstanding Male Student-Athlete. While on the court, O’Rourke broke and set new records. He holds all-time school records in most games played (115), steals (143), and three-point field goals attempted (497).

“School has been very important to me,” O’Rourke said. “My mom always stressed to do well in school. My brother Ronald was the first to graduate from college. Hopefully I have made them happy with my academic achievements.”

With graduation around the corner, Phoenix is looking forward to his future. Although he doesn’t have any summer plans, he would love to become a police officer one day and didn’t rule out returning to SF State as an assistant head coach.

“Being a cop has been on my mind,” he said. “I’d like to go traveling sometime soon. I would like to go to Asia, Europe and South America to sight-see for sure, but also to partake in some basketball tryouts.”

The 6-foot, 185-pound O’Rourke averaged 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game as a guard. In addition, he shot 37 percent from the field, 33 percent from the three-point line, and 67.2 percent from the free throw line.

“I had a great time here,” O’Rourke said. “I’ve helped recruit freshmen since my sophomore year. Whenever a recruit was here, I’d take them to my house and show them around. I’m going to miss it. To everyone who supported the men’s basketball program, thanks a lot. You all definitely helped us significantly.”