April 13, 2009
Santa Clara sophomore forward Ben Dowdell, of North Nowra, N.S.W., Australia, nicknamed Bones, averaged 3.3 ppg and 3.5 rpg in 21.2 mpg last season. Dowdell started 10 of the 32 games he played in, after playing a then-school record 890 minutes his freshman campaign. Following spring break, Dowdell jumped back into class and the gym with renewed vigor and excitement. Dowdell spoke about Santa Clara's rivals, what he's working on in the gym and what he hopes to do when his basketball days are over. His answer may surprise you, so read on.
SCU: So, Ben, let's go back a couple weeks. How was your break? Excited to be back on campus?
BD: My break was good. It was nice to relax. I didn't go anywhere, it was too short of a break to go home to Australia, so I stayed here at Santa Clara. I just hung out with some friends around town. I also went to Saint Mary's and watched them play Davidson.
SCU: How was the game?
BD: Saint Mary's has five mates of mine on their team from Australia. The gym was packed, you couldn't get a seat. I had to stand up. Patty Mills and I lived on the same floor in the apartments back at the Australian Institute of Sport for about two years. Clint also lived there for the second year. And the other three lived with my brother when he was there. But, all in all, I'm a Bronco, remember?
SCU: You saw first hand the Patty Mills-Stephen Curry match-up. Thoughts? Had you seen Stephen before in person?
BD: Patty is a very special player. I saw Stephen play at the Junior World Championships (in Serbia), but we didn't play them. We didn't get a chance to play them, but I got a chance to see him and he was really good there. It's hard to say how he'll do in the NBA, but I think he is pretty good.
SCU: Your brother plays professionally now?
BD: Jeff plays for the Perth Wildcats now in Australia. They did ok this season. Their season is over, but I think they were fourth.
SCU: Have you played with your brother since you came here?
BD: I may have seen him once since I came to Santa Clara and we didn't get a chance to play. We call each other online and stuff like that.
SCU: So, you are back in class after break and doing individual workouts. What do you look forward to most this spring?
BD: Because we aren't in season, a little less of a work load instead of traveling during the season and having to always play catch up. I am taking three classes this quarter so it's more relaxing and it gives me a bit more time to work on my game.
SCU: What are you working on?
BD: A lot of ball handling, fitness and shooting. I need to work on ball handling the most. We start off everyday with ball handling drills. I also do a lot of free throw shooting in my own time.
It's good - the individuals - they are tiring because we are working really hard. I can already feel the couple weeks off so I am trying to get back into shape now and improving as soon as possible. Everyone's attitude is pretty good. Really good. The time off and watching the NCAA Tournament helped us all refocus for next year's season.
SCU: Have you thought about next year at all yet? What game are you looking most forward to?
BD: I guess I am looking most forward to the game at Gonzaga because we have done so poorly the first two years there and I really want to go up there and beat them. I think we will have a really good team next year, young, but really talented.
SCU: Did you watch the NCAA Tournament?
BD: Yes, bits of it. My bracket wasn't that good (laughs).
SCU: Did you pick those four teams that made the Final Four?
BD: I went with all the No. 1's - it was boring. Pitt, UCONN, Louisville and UNC.
SCU: Who has impressed you?
BD:UNC's depth. They have players at every position who are not only talented, but very smart too. It didn't surprise me that they won - I picked them to finish second to UCONN, so once UCONN was out I thought they had a good chance.
SCU: How you have learned anything watching the NCAA Tournament?
BD: No. I learned we have a long way to go as a team as a mid-major program trying to reach the Final Four. We need to really be on-point in working really hard to get to that level. We are headed in the right direction.
SCU: Do you take that thought into your workouts?
BD: Definitely. It's definitely motivating to watch teams play in the tournament when you are out. You watch them and you want to be there.
SCU: You are a mechanical engineering major. Tough major? What do you want to do when you graduate?
BD: Yeah, it's tough (laughs). It's not easy. It's a lot more units than other schools at this university and it's a lot harder classes. I had a tough quarter in the winter, but I hope to do well this quarter and build on that. As far as what I will do when I graduate, hopefully play basketball for as long as I can if not overseas, then back in Australia. When the body gives out, probably be an engineer. I have always wanted to design rides for amusement parks. I think that would be a neat job.