Check out the video interview with Colleen Rooney!
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) was able to run down Santa Clara University true freshman forward Colleen Rooney (CR) who talks about her influences, what it takes to accomplish goals, her ability to handle the basketball and reminds us that 'it's not always about your game.'
SCB: You were on a terrific high school basketball team at Regis Jesuit in Colorado, winning a state championship as a prep. What were some things that made those teams special? How did you contribute to that success?
CR: Some of the things that made my state championship team special was the fact that everyone was completely devoted to working their hardest. I had seven seniors on my team that year and they were so focused on winning that they gave their all everyday ... and as a younger player it inspired me to work my hardest for them.
Also, that year everyone on the team had respect for everyone else. There was no looking down on one another. I was only a sophomore that year so I didn't really contribute much on the floor during games. However, during practices my job was to push the starters as hard as they could go, and during games I would be completely supportive of my team.
SCB: What are some websites, magazines or TV shows that you find yourself watching, reading or following the most?
CR: I don't really read a lot of magazines right now. I went through a phase last year where I liked reading Seventeen, but I don't read it anymore. When it comes to TV shows ... I mainly like the ABC Family Channel or ESPN. I don't have a favorite TV show ... and unlike others my age I really don't watch Jersey Shore.
I just started getting into ESPN recently. As I've gotten older I've started to get more interested in sports that I hated as a kid, like football for example. I love watching football games now! The main websites I go on are Facebook, YouTube, or Google. I love YouTube; there are some really entertaining videos on that site.
SCB: You were an outstanding student-athlete at Regis Jesuit in Colorado and were twice given Regis Jesuit's women's basketball's 'Raider Award' for all-around excellence on and off the court. What were some of the things you did to garner that award and what does that honor mean to you?
CR: I think the main thing I ever did to receive the 'Raider Award' was to be consistent with who I was on and off the court. For example, I like to be positive ... so therefore I would try to be positive on the court and off when I was talking to teammates.
Also, in high school I would try to include everyone. Last year, I was the only senior on my team. I had six freshmen on my team. I knew that to be good last year they would have to feel welcome and feel like they were a big part of the team and that's why as a team we would try to do bonding things off the floor. I also tried to always look out for my teammates. In fact, for two years in a row I was called "Momma Hen" because I would basically be the mother on the team.
That award meant a lot to me both years mainly because it showed me that it's not always about your game it's about who you are as a person. If you are willing to work hard for others and not just yourself then that's what really matters. It was a good reminder to me that character is what matters at the end of the day. Some things are only temporary but that lasts a lifetime.
SCB: Tell us a little about your game? What are the strengths on the floor?
CR: My game is confusing to some people. I'm a very tall girl and because of that some people would just assume that I'm a post and that my back is always to the basket. However, my game is quite the opposite. In high school, I played the wing, and there were plenty of games where I helped bring the ball up. I absolutely love to shoot, but I also love to drive. I'm still learning what being a post means.
Some of my strengths are my height and my vision. Because of my height, it makes certain things like passing easier for me. I'm more of a pass-first player. I'd rather give a good pass then try to force something for myself. Also I like to run. One of my biggest, if not the biggest, strength for me is my ability to get up and down the court. Often times girls my size don't run the floor very well, but that it is usually one thing that I do a good job of.
SCB: Why did you choose Santa Clara University?
CR: I chose Santa Clara for many different reasons. I love the location. Ever since I was little I always said I wanted to go to school in California. To which my dad would always respond saying: 'Well that's a really big state Colleen.'
It's close to the beach and San Francisco, which means that there's a lot to do. Santa Clara has lots of perks. It is an amazing academic school and that was probably most important to me. I knew that if anything ever happened to me physically Santa Clara would still be my best option because of the caliber of the academics.
Also, I absolutely love the team and the coaching staff. The coaches are friendly yet tough and I love this. They know what they're doing and they bring it everyday. The team is amazing. I knew that Santa Clara was the team for me after I met all the girls. The team was very welcoming and funny and energetic, and this was exactly what I was looking for. It made me want to be a Bronco.
SCB: What do you like most about playing basketball? Who are some people that have been influential in allowing you to enjoy the game?
CR: What I like most about playing basketball is that it gives me the ability to express myself. I was never a great artist or anything like that so my game is my way of showing people who I am. Basketball allows me to forget everything and just relax. When I'm playing it comes so natural and it allows me to have fun and work hard at the same time.
I've had lots and lots of influential people who have allowed me to enjoy the game. Most important is my dad. Ever since I was little he would push me to get better. I would not be the same player that I am today without my dad. My game was basically created from him … because of him I can dribble and shoot as a big. That was always a major focus of his. He always would encourage me to do my best and he would always ask me if I still loved the game. He was careful to not push me past my breaking point.
My brothers were also very influential. They played basketball and still do and they give me pointers as to what I should do to get better. They often give me points of view that I had not though about before.
The next influential people were all my coaches and trainers I've had through the years. My trainers, Marty Clark and Erik Phillips, have done so much for me I can't ever thank them enough. They kept my body and skills at the level that they needed to be to perform my best. Also, my high school coach Carl. He put so much time and effort into me, and my game. He was at every practice making sure that I was trying my hardest. Although he was often very serious, he kept the game and all the traveling fun throughout the years.
SCB: Have you set any goals for yourself in terms of what you want to accomplish during your SCU career? When you set out to accomplish something what are some steps that you take to make it happen?
CR: So far my biggest goal is to get my knee healthy. I want to get that as normal as possible so that I can play my hardest for four years. For my career at Santa Clara my goals are first of all to always have fun - if I accomplish this, then all my other goals can be reached. I want the SCU program return to the NCAA tournament.
I also want to become the player that I know I can be. I want to reach my full potential at Santa Clara. Some of the steps that I think can help me to do these things are to always be completely devoted. I know I need to show up everyday and work my hardest because if I don't then someone else is. Also, mentally I need to be more confident in myself and with my game. I know the things I can do, I just need to not be afraid to do them.
SCB: What has been your favorite part of your short SCU experience thus far?
CR: My favorite part about SCU so far is my team. Within the first day I felt like I was already part of the team. They work so hard but have fun at the same time. What I like most about my team is that we're all different yet we fit together perfectly. Each player brings out the best aspects in each other.
I also like how my team knows how to have fun - like our Lake Tahoe trip. The older girls treat us younger girls with respect and no one is looked down on. They have goals and are completely devoted to reaching them and they realize that everyone is needed to reach those goals. Also, I absolutely love how competitive my team is. We get competitive with one another on the most random things, and it makes everything a lot more entertaining. I honestly couldn't ask for a better team.