Monday, March 26, 2012

Q&A with Jordan Brink

Jordan Brink was kind enough to take some time out of his day to sit down with me (not literally) and answer a few questions. My questions are in bold, and his answers follow.

First of all, what exactly was your injury, and where are you in the recovery process?

At the end of the summer last year, I tore the labrum in my right shoulder at an open gym with the team. I was guarding Caleb Simons (from Cornerstone) and my arm stretched across my body a lot farther than it should have. Recovery has been great...I took my time with it because I knew that was the only way it could return stronger than it was. I am playing basketball and lifting weights like normal and rarely feel it, so I really couldn't be happier with how the recovery has gone.

Not playing basketball opened up another opportunity for you. What exactly have you been up to, and what has the experience been like?

I am studying in York, England with about 30 other Calvin students. This experience has been more than I ever could have asked for. As a basketball player, studying abroad doesn't even cross your mind because the season goes into both semesters, but when I found out I couldn't play somebody suggested looking into it. Growing up I have always heard the expression "God works in mysterious ways," but it's crazy too see His plan actually take shape in my life right in front of my eyes. Numerous times this semester I have just laughed at how different His plan for this past year was from mine. There have been countless times this semester where I been in awe of how amazing God is and realized how much I need to let go and trust Him.

Next year will be your third year in school, but only second playing ball. Do you see yourself returning for a fifth year down the road?

I am not sure about that just yet. I will probably make that decision depending on how the next few years go playing at Calvin. As of right now though, I definitely want to use that fifth year.

What was it like watching the team struggle this past year while not being able to contribute?

It was extremely tough. It was one of the hardest things I had to experience in a while. It didn't matter if we were winning or losing, I wanted to be out there just as bad. When you put so much time into preparing for a season it is hard to watch because I saw myself being a major contributor. I felt helpless sitting on the bench because I couldn't do anything to help my teammates. It is crazy what being forced to take time away from the game can do to you mentally though. I have had so much time to take a step back and think about things, I feel refreshed and more focused on doing everything I can to help Calvin basketball win. I know Mitch and Mickey (who also spent significant time not playing) have felt the same way when it comes to making us that much more hungry for next year.

What have you been working on as a player since we last saw you on the court at the end of the 2010-11 season?

I had a few goals coming out here and I feel like I am progressing with them on a daily basis. First of all, I wanted to play basketball as much as I could because I knew it would be more difficult to out here. I am part of the basketball club here, which only practices and plays twice a week. Other than that, I am shooting and doing drills on my own at a local park (which was sunny and beautiful today). Another goal of mine was to be stronger for this upcoming season. I have been hitting the weights and want to play at 190 next season, which is my current weight. Another thing I wanted to do was increase my flexibility.

However, as I mentioned earlier, mentally I feel like I have been able to refocus and mature a little bit. Sometimes the mental aspect of things is just as important as the physical.

In your opinion, what will be the biggest strength of the 2012-13 Calvin Knights?

I think one of the biggest strengths is going to be depth. We are going to have nine players in our rotation that have started in their careers. This year was huge for so many different guys in regards to getting some valuable playing experience. I feel like everyone that will be called on next year has shown what they are capable of. In addition to that we have some nice talent coming in.

However, in my opinion, our desire to win is going to be our biggest strength. The last couple years haven't really gone as planned for most of us and I think we are just ready to do what it takes to win. We have so much talent on our team, and we know that, so now it is about getting it together and just winning basketball games. I think the senior class (Tom, Powell, Dave, DeBo, Adam, Nate) is going to set the tone with their desire to just win.

In your opinion, what will be the biggest weakness of the 2012-13 Calvin Knights?

The biggest challenge, just like most teams, will be staying together and being capable of firing on all cylinders when it matters most. No matter what happens, the ups and the downs, I hope that our team will stay together and trust each other even if nobody else does. A true team is one that plays for their teammates because they love each other and would do anything for each other, and that is exactly what I want our team to be.

Finally, is it true that you dunk on everyone over in the UK?

Definitely not! England is definitely a football country, but there are plenty of basketball players as well. I have dunked a few times in games but I am definitely not dunking on everyone over here haha. York St. John (the University I am studying at) has plenty of good players, one of which was very close to attending Trine and playing for them. We had an undefeated season, which promotes us to the division above us for next season. (Just a side note, Calvin hoops plans to have more dunks next season).

I’ll give you the chance for the last word. Anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to show my appreciation for Calvin College and the fans that we have. I am so blessed to be able to go to Calvin College and to play in front of so many faithful fans. The Forever Faithful blog is a great example of the support that Calvin basketball has. Another thing I don't want to take for granted is my teammates. I am so lucky to be able to play with guys as talented as Tom Snikkers. Sometimes time away helps you realize some of these things but I am going to try my best to enjoy every minute of my time playing basketball at Calvin and the teammates that I am blessed to play with.

I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Jordan for his willingness to participate. I'm sure we can all appreciate a little more athlete perspective and a little less of me droning on about effective field goal percentages!

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