By Adam McDougall
The main reason I chose to attend RNS was the basketball program and its excellence. The basketball here is amazing, but the schooling is another huge part of why I decided to come here. As of right now, I am looking to play basketball at the highest level that I can, while simultaneously getting a top-tier education. RNS was the perfect school for the merging of those goals. I love math and science – I have always wanted to be an engineer, so math, physics, and chemistry are my favourite subjects (they also happen to be my best) – but I knew that in order for me to get into my ideal program, I would have to prioritize school as well as basketball. That is why RNS seemed like a perfect fit for me. The student-athletes that come out of RNS get great opportunities to go to school basically wherever they want, and that appealed to me a ton.
I’m from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, so attending RNS means that I am away from home. Initially, being away from home was kind of difficult. The thing I found most difficult was getting used to the routine and the tight schedule we keep here, but – obviously – I miss my mom and I miss my friends. Even though it might be hard at times to be here instead of being with my family back home, I know that being here is a great opportunity and that it will pay off in the long run. I tend to look more towards the future rather than looking back to the past, and that is something that has allowed me to stay optimistic even in the face of adversity.
One of the things that struck me right away about RNS is just the fact that everyone here is just so kind. No matter who you are talking to, whether it be one of the basketball players, one of the hockey players, or another student, everyone is really kind and exceptionally outgoing. There is also a ton of community involvement from everybody on campus, which is one of the things that I love about the school.
It was super easy to integrate myself and become part of the team early on at RNS. Some of that might stem from the fact that I had met a lot of the guys on the team before I even decided that I would be attending RNS. Last year, right after Christmas, I came out for a visit. I spent the whole day with the team, so I was able to meet the guys, get a workout in, and just get an overall feel for what life was like here for the basketball team. Some of the guys on the team I had already known, but I had known them as opponents, not teammates. Even so, I found that knowing some people on the team made it really easy to adapt to the team environment, and made it really easy to get into a rhythm right away.
As a basketball player, I’m a really big defense and effort kind of guy. Growing up, I was more of a slasher – a get to the bucket and finish with contact kind of player – but it was my defense that made me stand out. I am an athletic guard, which makes it easier to play defense and work harder than the people I am guarding. What really gets me playing time is just dogging people and doing whatever I can to get the ball defensively. I know my defense is one of my strengths on the court, but I’m also working on other aspects of my game. I’m trying to become a better scorer, a better shooter, and everyone can always become a better ballhandler. Even in the areas in which I already accel, I know there are things in which I can improve, so that improvement is a goal that I focus on.
All our team wants to do this season is win. Coach Gay stresses to us every day that we are here to win. A more individual goal I have is, as I stated earlier, to develop my skills. Here at RNS, we have amazing facilities. Compared to Antigonish, where there isn’t much in terms of high-level facilities for athletes, RNS is a huge step up. Things like that are the things that will allow me to push myself towards the things I want – and need – to accomplish in terms of basketball.
To get to that next level, I need to have role models, and I am lucky enough that one of my role models is one of my teammates. I definitely look up to Sam Alamutu ‘21, who is one of our co-captains. He’s a year older than me, he’s a captain, and he’s in the position that I’d love to be in next year because he’s a great role model, but he’s also an amazing basketball player. Physically and defensively, he’s outstanding, and he’s a great scorer. He can really do everything. Another one of my inspirations would have to be Andrew Milner ‘16. Coming from Antigonish, I almost see him as an older brother. I’ve played against him, and just being able to see his character gave me something to look up to. He attended RNS as well, which is another one of the reasons that I chose to come here. He’s just a really big inspiration for me.