Seamus Boxley, “I think that we definitely can compete for a title” – Dec 24, 2009

Een oudje uit 2009 met Seamus Boxley. Een geweldige speler en een heel mooi en oprecht mens.

So on a freezing cold December day just before Christmas, I had an interview with Seamus Boxley (201-C-82, college: Portland St.) of ZZ Leiden. He has just returned on the court after an operation on his right knee. Seamus is a versatile 3-4, he is strong and skilled on the inside but can also easily swing out to the 3 position. Throughout his career Seamus has always been considered one of the top defensive players in every league he has played.

You grew up in Mountlake Terrace, WA, what was your childhood like?
My childhood was great. I grew up in a big family with three brother and a sister, so I was never alone and always had somebody to play and compete with. Both my mother and father were always very supportive in whatever I was doing and always pushed me to be the best and give my best. My family still lives near Mountlake Terrace and during the offseason its nice to be able to go home to a place that doesn’t just look at me as a professional basketball player but just Seamus. I was very blessed growing up.

Growing up, besides basketball were there any other sports you enjoyed playing?
Growing up I played almost everything. I played soccer for 9 years and baseball for 9 years as well. We were a competitive family so if there was any kind of game to be played we played it.

buxWho have been some of the most influential people in your playing career?
The most influential people in my playing career would start with my parents. Like me they love this game deeply and have supported me in my quest to be the best I can be. Next would be my highschool and college coaches that put the time and energy into teaching me the fundamentals and helped mold me into the player I am today. Lastly would be Michael Jordan, he’s the reason I feel in love with the game, why I picked up the ball in the first place.

What will you remember about your time at Portland State University the most?
What I’ll remember the most about Portland State are my teammates and coaches. I came to Portland State only with the intent to leave it better than when I came to it. We were a young program and we set out to win a championship. There were some tough years but in the end we accomplished it and since I’ve left the programs has made it to the tourney twice, which is very nice.

You missed a lot of games at the beginning of the season because of an injury. How do you feel now?
I feel great right now. The injury was tough, its hard to sit on the sideline and watch your team battle, but I think the team did a great job and showed a lot of character and heart. My knee feels good, and I’ve been training extra just to get back into the form I was in. Being on the side gave me the opportunity to work on some things as well and really see how I can help my team.

You play with a lot of energy. Explain the impact that has on your game.
I think playing with a lot of energy is just how the game is supposed to be played. I play every game like its my last because nothing in life is guaranteed. I think playing with energy helps me on both ends of the basketball court. Offensively being able to get out and run the floor for some easy opportunities and attack the basket putting pressure on the defense. Defensively just being active getting blocks and disrupting the passing lanes and communicating. When you play with energy and passion win or lose you know you’ve given your all and you can look yourself in the mirror.

Your passion and emotion obviously help your game. Do you think that energy rubs off and has a positive effect on your teammates?
I think we have a team or players that play with a lot of passion and energy and its contagious and motivating. Whenever I see somebody just giving their all and having fun it rubs off on me, so I hope that how I play is contagious. I love and enjoy what I do so much and I want my team to know that.

Talk about your defensive play, and what it takes to maintain the same intensity day in and day out.
I love to play defense. In my mind I feel like that’s where games are won and lost. You know offense comes and goes but you can play good defense everyday. Defense at this level requires a lot of preparation and film, and then a conscious effort when you step out on the floor to execute the game plan. The most important factor I think is energy though.

Talk about this team being able to rely on more than one or two players’ contributions.
This is a special team because we can get contributions from everybody. I think it makes us tough to defend because we have so many weapons that can attack from different places on the floor. I also think that it makes us tough because if somebody doesn’t have it going one night the others pick up the slack. I think as a team we all understand our role and we give whatever the team needs.

boxleyThis is a team that can certainly fire on all cylinders – from a dangerous three-point threat to a great inside presence to strong scoring defense. Talk about the various role players on the team and what they bring to the table.
We can definitely fire on all cylinders on this team. Starting with Danny Gibson who is an amazing point guard with incredible speed, he a great shooter and can penetrate any defense. I don’t think he can be defended by just one defender. Defensively he has the strength and speed to give other guards a tough night. Ronny Lemelle is maybe the tallest two guard in the league and I think that helps him in getting off his shot off of smaller defenders. He’s a great shooter and has really stepped up his rebounding. Monta McGhee is a special player, somebody like myself who plays with a lot of energy and passion. He creates opportunities for his teammates and has the ability to defend multiple positions. He is also our oldest player that brings a lot of his experience to the team and has helped us prevail in tough situations. Jeroen Slor is a freaky athlete who gets better everyday. His length and athleticism are trouble for other teams on both ends. He plays hard and really attacks the offensive glass. Johan Kuiper is the biggest person in the league. This being his fourth year in Leiden you can tell that he is more comfortable in his role as the starting center. Lately he has come on offensively and has been playing to his potential. Terry Sas will be another great addition now that he is healthy. He can shoot lights out and really gives everything he has on the defensive end of the floor. Mick Burger is defenitely the same in that he sells out every night on the defensive end of the floor. We usually match him up with the toughest scorer on the other team and he always accepts the challenge. Joey Schelvis is our youngest player and has a bright future if he continues to work that way.

What drives you to be successful on the basketball court?
Winning a championship is what ultimately drives me to be successful. Numbers don’t mean nearly as much to me as do wins. I’m on a incredible journey right now chasing a dream to play at the highest level and working hard everyday to see that I get there. My family also drives me to be successful, like myself they have high expectations of me and so that drives me everyday to come out and play my best.

What’s been your biggest basketball thrill in two seasons at ZZ Leiden.
I think my biggest basketball thrill in the two season at Leiden has been this season. Last year was tough because I felt like we lacked the important things mentally to ultimately be successful. This year has been a blessing to just be a part of something special. From the coaches, to the managers. to the players we all respect each other and work hard not just for ourselves but for the rest of the team. This is really a great organization.

What are your thoughts on Coach van Helfteren?
Coach Toon is a great coach. Coach is a real players coach, he played the game himself and understands what his players are going through. I really enjoy his philosophy on the game, he’s a defense first guy and offensively he lets his players go make plays. This is my first time professionally playing for the same team two years in a row and Coach had a lot to do with that.

One of the thing that jumps out at coaches watching you play is, it seems that coach really demands a lot from you to take ownership of the team out on the floor, be coach on the floor. Can you talk about that whole process, how a bigger role that might have played in you getting
this far?
My role on the team has grown. This year I’m a captain on the team, this being my 3rd year in the league and 2nd year in Leiden coach has asked me to really lead by example as well as be vocal. Its a honor to be a leader on this team, and its not a tough job. We’re a team of professionals and we come to work everyday. If I see we need to pick it up or if I see something during a game its my role to communicate it. I know what it takes to be successful in this league and I think that my team understands that and respects what I have to say.

Do you think you can contend for the title?
I think that we definitely can compete for a title. We have the tools to do it. If we can stay healthy and continue to work as we have I think we could be here late in May. If you ask anybody else on the team they would tell you the same thing. I think that’s the most important thing we believe as a unit.