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Men's Basketball: UCI's Folker dreaming big

Senior post player has worked hard to find a leading role on the court, but he's already a CEO.

March 08, 2013|By Barry Faulkner
  • Adam Folker (20), has worked hard to become a productive offensive factor for UC Irvine.
Adam Folker (20), has worked hard to become a productive… (Kevin Chang, Daily…)

Its no fluke that UC Irvine senior Adam Folker is a marketing whiz who has already organized and overseen a handful of companies and dozens of employees. He is, after all, a master at maximizing opportunity.

In five years with the Anteaters men's basketball program, Folker has evolved from a offensively challenged, banged-around, then banged-up banger, into a productive, polished and inspirational performer on both sides of the floor.

A 6-foot-9, 225-pound post player from Markham, Ontario, Canada — a Toronto suburb known more for slap shots than jump hooks — Folker has also taken advantage of several opportunities off the floor. The Newport Beach resident has become a bit of a social-media sensation in recent years, promoting something known as the Folker System.

The "system" refers to Folker's approach to life, business and basketball that begins with hard work and ends with, well, infinite possibility.

"The sky's the limit," said Folker, who overcame a career-threatening injury to earn Hustle Player of the Year award in the Big West Conference last season and collected Player of the Week honors in the conference in 2012-13. This season, he has helped UCI (17-14, 10-7 in conference heading into Saturday's regular-season finale at UC Davis) secure its first winning season since 2007-08, reach the upper echelon of the 10-team Big West standings, and post a perfect 9-0 home conference record. "Anything short of that would be selling myself ohwt."

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Long before he devised strategies for selling anything, Folker learned the value of paying the price.

The product of parents who both played college basketball, Folker passed up the puck in order to concentrate on round ball. He practiced ball-handling in the often harsh elements until his fingers cracked. He spent five years (the term for high school in Canada) playing with the Markham District High varsity, matriculating from scrawny freshman point guard to a versatile front-court presence who averaged 31 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and four blocked shots per game as a senior. He was named first-team All-Canada in 2007-08.

It was in high school that his uncommon work ethic took shape, though he never considered himself anything close to a grinder.

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