For the month of November, we awarded Zachary Parise of the University of Kentucky with the Baller of the Month title. Zach just finished his career in the NCDA with the Summit Street Slugfest in Kent, where he showed out for his last tournament. Below is the interview that I conducted with him.
Colby Briceland: First of all, congratulations on winning Baller of the Month for November. I can’t believe that you haven’t won it already. How does it feel?
Zach Parise: It feels really good. I was very surprised when I was told but it’s definitely something I’m honored to receive.
CB: How did your dodgeball career start? And did you have prior dodgeball experience before joining the NCDA?
ZP: My only prior Dodgeball experience was back in high school gym. It’s funny, the only reason I went to Dodgeball the first time was my floor mate freshmen year got recruited from midnight Dodgeball and didn’t want to go by himself. So me and a few buddies went, hung around, and for our first match that year against WKU a few weeks later I was picked as a starter. The rest is history.
CB: You’re known around the league as being an extremely accurate thrower as well as a player that you don’t single throw. Which aspect of the game came to you first, throwing, or catching? And how did you work on perfecting both?
ZP: Catching definitely came first. It was easier for me to square the ball up and catch than grip throw. I think this was the same for most of my teammates as well. I didn’t really throw a lot until my first nationals and wasn’t considered a thrower on my team until the next season. I was a pitcher most of my life so once I got the hang of grip throwing the rest came pretty naturally. I tried to catch or hit everyone at practice and playing against people like Evan Kachelhoffer and Ricardo Menchaca made it a lot easier to improve. They throw as fast as anyone and have some of the best hands I’ve ever seen in the sport. In matches I always tried to put myself in the best position to make plays both throwing and catching to help my team win.
CB: Which team/s do you enjoy playing against the most?
ZP: I always loved our matches against Towson, Kent, and WKU. From freshmen year on they were always competitive. But I did enjoy playing against teams where I had friends on the other side.
CB: Is there a player or players from another team that you love to play across from? And why?
ZP: You of course! But there are way too many to truly pick. I always loved playing against guys who had been around the league longer like Jeff Starr, Albert Deperro, Kevin Bailey, etc. I felt like I made more plays in these games. But like I said, I loved playing against my friends (too many to list) cause they typically lit a fire in me and made me play better. Plus you could joke around and have a laugh in game.
CB: Who do you consider your rival/s?
ZP: Towson, Kent, & Western Kentucky in no particular order.
CB: Was there a player that mentored you while you were an underclassman?
ZP: From Dodgeball a lot of the teammates helped me adjust to college like Colin Hiatt, Rachel Tussey and many others who took me under their wing. I used to ask Brandon Engelman a lot of questions because I tried to base my play off his. I always joked around that my goal was too try and replace him once he graduated. Zac Brown and Zach Ross mentored me later on by picking any small mistakes I made so I could learn from them.
CB: What’s your favorite Disney movie, and what’s your favorite Pixar movie?
ZP: Disney Movie: Hercules Pixar Movie: Toy Story 1
CB: Guilty pleasure midnight snack?
ZP: Popcorn or chocolate.
CB: Now the content team had some questions for you:
Zane Durbin asks: What is your prediction for the College Football Playoffs?
ZP: Alabama Vs Clemson in the Championship game. Alabama wins it handedly. #ROLLTIDE #SEC
Hunter Ford asks: Will he attend nationals as a spectator and will he carpool with me?
ZP: As of right now I am going to attend Nationals and as long as you drive out to Kentucky we can!
HF: Who was your least favorite teammate and why was it Rachel?
ZP: Just listen to her scream “watch” or “pay attention” without giving real details of where to do so and you’ll understand why!
Zach Rivera asks: What is the highlight of his career at UK or in the NCDA was?
ZP: I think the highlight for me is that overtime match on Sunday of BGSU nationals against Towson. The comeback down 2-0 at halftime, and then the OT comeback from being down 4-2 man count was one of the craziest moments for me in any sport I’ve ever played. The excitement and the celebration after the fact is something I probably won’t experience ever again.
ZR: If he could be any other Zach in the world, famous or otherwise, which Zach would he be and why?
ZP: Probably pro hockey player Zach Parise for the Minnesota Wild. Captain of the Olympic team and at one time one of the best scorers in the NHL.
Felix Perrone asks: If a cow could naturally produce strawberry milk, what color would the cow be?
ZP: I would assume red or pink if it’s naturally occurring. You tell me?
FP: Do you plan on playing dodgeball after college?
ZP: I need to take a few months and heal but I would love to if given an opportunity.
Thank you to Zach for the wonderful interview and congratulations on winning Baller of the Month for November!