Nov. 16, 2004
This week's featured athlete is men's basketball senior co-captain and starting center Nate Doornekamp, a native of Odessa, Ontario. Aside from his three seasons at Boston College, Doornekamp has represented Team Canada in the World University Games in 2003 and 2001.
Q: In Sunday's 67-59 victory over Carleton (Ontario) University, you faced your younger brother, Aaron; your cousin, Michael Smart; and your uncle, Head Coach Dave Smart. What was it like to face your brother on the court?
A: It was fun. I had a great time. I have one older brother, but Aaron and I have more of an age difference so I didn't think I would ever be playing against him. He's three and a half years younger than me. I'd played against Mike before because he had come down to play here my freshman year. We're similar players so I had a great time. Playing against Dave (Smart) was great - he's always been my coach coming up. So it kind of brought everything full circle. It was just a really fun time.
Q: How excited are you and your teammates to open the regular season this Friday night against Maine?
A: I hope we are ready. I think that we have a real good chance to win a lot of games this year. I think we could be really good. I think that Maine is going to be a tough test. They're picked to finish third in their league. We're going to have to be ready on Friday, and it's going to be a test right from the start.
Q: After one month of practice and one exhibition game, what do you see in the four freshmen?
A: They all bring something different. On Sunday I thought they were composed out there, and I thought they looked great. For a couple of them, it was their best showing of the year, which is good. The closer we get to the season the better they are getting and the more comfortable they are getting. I think they can really help us.
Q: You've been projected to finish fifth in the Big East. What do you hope to accomplish in your senior season?
A: People are going to be against us like they were last year because we are leaving the Big East. I don't think the fact that we are leaving the Big East to go to the ACC next year is really aiding or hindering us. The thing about the Big East is that everyone can win and everyone can lose. We're picked to finish fifth, and we could finish first but we could also finish 10th. There are some good teams at the top. I think that Syracuse, Connecticut and Pitt are very beatable. We have beaten them in the past, and we should have beaten a couple of them last year.
Q: As one of three team captains, you being the only senior captain, what do you see as your main responsibilities?
A: I'm there to answer questions and make sure that guys are on time. I have to make sure that guys respect the people around them and the situation that they are put in. Sometimes, as a freshman, or even me sometimes, you don't respect what you're given in the situation that you're placed in.
Q: Since you've arrived at Boston College, you've had the chance to see much of the world. You've played in tournaments in Honolulu (2001) and the Virgin Islands (2003) with BC, and you've also traveled to China, Korea and Mexico. Explain the great opportunities you've enjoyed as a result of your basketball abilities.
A: Just coming to BC is pretty special. Going to Hawaii was fun, and I had never been there. Going to the Virgin Islands was fun. Again, I had never been there. Seeing China and Korea and Mexico - such different parts of the world - was an opportunity to experience different cultures. The way people go about their lives is different, and the way they play basketball is different. That was really special. I got to play against some really good players in Yao Ming and other future international NBA guys. That really helped a lot, and it was just fun. I went to China and Mexico touring before my freshman year, and Korea was before my junior year.
Q: Which teams are you most excited to face this season?
A: Clemson beat us at their place, and we shouldn't have lost that game. I can't wait to play Pitt. I think it's going to be a bit of a battle, and I really look forward to that one. I look forward to Syracuse and every Big East game, but Pitt, Syracuse, and UConn - those teams that are picked to finish ahead of us - are the ones that I really look forward to.
Q: If you had to select a highlight from your three seasons at BC, what would you choose and why?
A: I'd have to say going to the NCAA Tournament, along with anytime we beat Syracuse and UConn. Any of those big wins are up there. Also, being able to play at Madison Square Garden and going into the NCAA Tournament were huge.
Q: What do you take from last season's 57-56 second-round loss to Georgia Tech in the NCAA Tournament and what approach is your team taking to get to that next level, the Sweet 16?
A: I think what we took from last year is that we were close. It was kind of a letdown because we knew we had the chance to beat Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech went to the finals. A lot of our guys worked their butts off in the offseason thinking about that game and thinking about how close we were. What we learn from it is just how close we were and how much harder we do have to work to get above it. But we can get there.
Q: Since last season's NCAA Tournament appearance, what has been the team's focus and what areas have you sought to improve?
A: We lost a lot in Uka - a lot of leadership and energy. Over the last couple of weeks we are trying to collectively pick up that energy. It showed yesterday. We didn't have a lot of energy. Uka wasn't there. I think we can pick up the energy and just some urgency. We've been trying to focus on the fact that this is the time. We have a great opportunity here and we have to make the most of it.
Q: I know you're a good golfer. Do you get much of a chance to play during your time in Boston? Also, what do you shoot?
A: I play wherever I can. I have my clubs with me now. I play anytime I have my clubs and I have a free moment to play. I play with my brothers a lot in the summer time. I didn't get out much this summer but growing up, my brothers and I would play 36 holes five or six days a week. I only got out 25 to 30 times this summer, which is a lot for most people. I'm a pretty good golfer. I would say I'm a five or six handicap.
Q: You've said in the past that you've skated with some of the hockey players - do you still get much of a chance to get on the Kelley Rink ice?
A: I do get on the rink, much to Coach Coen's chagrin. I do have my skates there in the locker room, hidden. Anytime I go home for Christmas, there is always pond hockey going on. I'm close with a lot of the hockey guys. I room with Dave Spina, John Adams and Andrew Alberts, so I'm close with them. I'm always needling them as to when is a good time to get out. They always get me out after the season to play.
In a special edition of the Q-&A feature, the Athletics Department will interview volleyball senior Katie Andersen later this week. Andersen and the Eagles will face top-seeded Notre Dame at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Pittsburgh in BC's first BIG EAST Tournament appearance.