The story behind TCU’s “viral” walk-on Owen Aschieris |

This feel good story of the week falls partially into the Other Duties as Assigned category for TCU Director of Operations Thomas Montigel and assistant for student athlete development Ontario Lett. Great story!

TCU coach Jamie Dixon never envisioned a day he’d use the phrase “gone viral.”

But there’s no other description for what’s happened with how he and his program let walk-on Owen Aschieris know he’d earned a scholarship for the spring semester.

TCU had a police officer interrupt a team meeting to talk with Aschieris and, a few seconds later, his teammates exploded with enthusiasm about the scholarship news. The video has garnered more than one million views on the TCU men’s basketball official Twitter account.

“As far as coaching one of my gratifying and enjoyable moments, you can talk about championships or winning games or this, but the instances where we’ve been able to give a scholarship to a kid that has worked his tail off and given so much for the program are some of the most memorable I’ve ever had,” Dixon said after TCU’s 98-67 victory over West Virginia on Tuesday.

“That was special, just to do it. I guess it’s taken off and gone viral; I’d swear I’d never use that phrase. It worked out pretty good and it was good to see him and everybody enjoy it.”

Aschieris received a nice ovation when he entered Tuesday’s game, and scored the first points of his collegiate career. Aschieris finished with four points, all free throws, and has now appeared in six games for the Frogs.

So where did Aschieris come from?

He had a solid high school career in San Diego, averaging 22 points and four assists as a senior at Santa Fe Chrisitan School. He came to TCU as a student and spent last season as a member of TCU women’s basketball practice team.

Aschieris caught the eye of women’s coach Raegan Pebley, who informed Dixon of him. In July, the TCU men’s team announced Aschieris would be joining as a walk-on. Fast forward a few months and Aschieris has proven worthy of a scholarship.

“It’s really hard to describe because so much work went into this,” Aschieris said. “It’s been a crazy journey going from high school and not being recruited to the women’s scout team, and then walking on. So many people behind me and to get this scholarship and talking right now, I’m going to need a few days to let my mind chill.”

Aschieris’ first called his mother to inform her of the news, and she started crying. Those tears of joy spread over the line to Aschieris.

It was a special moment for his family and, the next night, he was scoring the first points of his career in a Big 12 game. Of course, Aschieris can laugh now about the police officer letting him know, something basketball director of operations Thomas Montigel and assistant for student athlete development Ontario Lett set up.

At the time, it wasn’t a laughing matter.

“It freaked me out a little,” Aschieris said, smiling. “I was wracking my brain to think about what I might have done wrong in the past of my entire life. It was crazy.”

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See the video here.

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