Hamid Bullie was one of six senior basketball players honored prior to Loyola’s 73-25 win over Steinmetz on Tuesday. But he was the only one who never played at all during the regular season. Bullie’s season ended before it started after he tore the meniscus in his left knee against Hinsdale Central in the second round of the Class 8A football playoffs. A running back, he also missed his entire junior basketball season following an ACL tear in his right knee. Despite the setbacks, Bullie remained committed to the Ramblers basketball team throughout his two varsity seasons. A Chicago resident and graduate of Inter-American Magnet School in Lake View, he said he plans to play football in college.
MAROON & GOLD: Two serious injuries disrupted your athletic career at Loyola. How have you remained positive?
HAMID BULLIE: Injuries are part of playing sports. I can’t worry about what I can’t control. I also know I still have something to look forward to in the future. Things will get better.
M&G: Was getting injured harder to deal with as a senior?
HB: In some ways, I think it’s been easier. Having gone through the ACL injury, surgery and rehab last year was really difficult. This year is nothing compared to that. When I got hurt again, I had already been through a lot, so I had a better mindset about it. Even though I wasn’t at full strength for the rest of the football playoffs, I was able to dress out and carry the ball three times in the state championship game. That was an experience I will never forget. Not everybody gets that chance.
M&G: Knowing you weren’t going to play basketball season, why did you decide to come out for the team?
HB: Because of my friends. I enjoy being around the guys, cheering them on and watching them play. I love basketball and the boys. Unless I have physical therapy or go out of town on a college visit, I’ve been at every practice and game.
M&G: What are your strengths as a basketball player?
HB: I’m aggressive. I’m not the best shooter, but I like to pass. I am willing to do anything to help my team win.
M&G: How far along are you in your recovery?
HB: I’m cleared do to non-contact activities. I see the doctor in about three weeks, and I should be cleared for everything. I am looking forward to playing pick-up basketball games with the boys.
M&G: Who are the people who have supported you when times were tough?
HB: My family, my parents, my teammates, my friends. [Loyola boys basketball head coach Tom] Livatino would always text me and listen to me. Everybody has been great.
M&G: I don’t know of any other Loyola students who attended grade school at Inter-American, the oldest bilingual school in the Midwest. What was that experience like?
HB: It’s not only a good school academically, but my mom wanted me to learn another language. From first to fifth grade, they teach you the basics of Spanish. Starting in sixth grade, I had math, science and social studies classes that the teachers only spoke Spanish. I enjoyed it. I am now fluent in Spanish.
M&G: What’s your take on this season’s basketball team?
HB: I’m proud of them. Even though some people say we’ve overachieved, I expected this. These guys do all of the intangibles necessary to win games.
M&G: What was your college goal when you arrived at Loyola as a freshman?
HB: I always wanted to play football at either an Ivy League or Patriot League school. I know that sounds crazy because it seems everybody wants to play Division I, but it’s true. I fell off [their radars] when I got hurt my junior season and couldn’t go to camps.
M&G: Which schools are you looking at now?
HB: My No. 1 option is [Division III University of] St. Thomas. Another option is to go to a prep school for one year. I have some time before I have to decide.