December may seem like it was a year ago, but the NCDA’s Baller of the Month for December is JMU’s Doug Schilling. This award is long over due for Doug, who has been a key player for them since the day he stepped on the court his freshman year. Take a gander at my conversation with this year’s potential MVP:
Jacob Leski: Doug! Congratulations on being our December Baller of the Month, ever think you’d get it? Or did you expect to have more than one by this point in your career?
Doug Schilling: Thanks man! It feels great. I was starting to get antsy, as obviously it’s been something I’ve wanted since I jumped on the court freshman year. Wouldn’t say I expected more, but I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t win one before I graduated.
JL: Understandably so. Speaking of freshman year, your team went to the National Semifinals. That team is considered by many to be the most talented East Coast team ever. What are your thoughts on that statement and how did the leaders of that squad help set you up for where you are now?
DS: I would say there’s no argument that was the most talented East Coast team ever. However, I think our squad this year (especially if comparing top 20) could go toe-to-toe with those guys. The leaders on that team were incredible, and I owe everything that I’ve become as a dodgeball player from them. Between Brent Gromer, Joey Cardella, Ben Sizemore, Taylor Wilhelm, and even some of the less mentioned guys like Lee Lucas, Jeremy Butcher, and Connor Ford, I had an incredible group of senior leaders that pushed me to be better from day one. If I didn’t have them, who knows what JMU Dodgeball would look like today.
JL: Those are some big names. It was fun playing against them, great competitors. Other than your freshman year, what have been some of your greatest memories with JMU Dodgeball?
DS: Tough question, lots of good ones, let me try to narrow it down. Any of the road trips with the guys definitely rank in some of the highest slots. Our OT loss to Saginaw at Nationals last year was definitely one of my favorite games played. To top it all off, it’s gonna be hard for me to forget how we’ve come out against Towson this year. Those two adrenaline filled beat downs have been a lot of fun to replay in my head.
JL: They looked like a Varsity team playing a JV team. I remember reffing that game with SVSU, hell of a match. When it comes to this season, what makes you say your team will win the National Championship? Convince me.
DS: Oh yeah, I still remember you almost screwing me with a call in OT, can’t say I’m surprised though. But look, when it comes down to it, I think we’ve got the firepower and heart to do it this year compared to the past two at least. We’re hungry and realize that we can be the team to finally keep it out of Michigan. Nationals is coming to the East Coast this year, so it’s only fitting that the trophy does so as well. We’re making tweaks and playing smarter to propel ourselves to the top, and we’re ready to show that to the rest of the league.
JL: Coming from the losing side of the game… Hard to argue with that. What are you doing as an executive board to ensure that JMU dodgeball stays a top dog when you hang ’em up? This is your last year correct?
DS: Yeah man, like most college kids (except those who play dodgeball apparently), I’ll graduate in 4 years. So, this is sadly it for me. I’m trying to make it a seamless transition to the next guy in command. People think it’s difficult, but it’s all about mentorship. I’m not gonna give away any secrets, but I promise my club won’t skip a beat after I’m gone.
JL: I don’t doubt it will. What are your plans for life after college? Also do you intend to keep playing dodgeball? Whether that be in Elite or just for fun?
DS: Life after college is still a mystery for me. I’m very likely staying on the East Coast, looking at the Washington DC area. I know a lot of guys are hoping to see me jump into Elite so the shit-talking can continue, but we’ll see how my arm holds up. I’m sure I won’t be able to walk away from it for good after this year. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.
JL: As an individual, what do you consider to be your #1 skill? Also how has your leadership helped shape the team into an early contender this season?
DS: I’d say it’s gotta be my ability to change arm slots and make a lot of different throws. I think it makes me tougher to catch because it’s hard for people to get in a rhythm and consistently pick the ball up well. As far as leadership goes, we’ve just made sure we’re all on the same page. We’ve got a good core group with a lot of experience, and we communicate really well. It has helped us play much more cohesive. We’re a lot more serious about everything this year, and it’s showing.
JL: What is the best headshot you have ever thrown, and who was the target? Also, worst headshot you have ever received, and who was the thrower?
DS: Best I’ve ever gotten has to be from last year against Cleveland State. Forget who it connected with, but I hid behind a teammate and got him from like 35 feet away with a HAMMER over the top and it looked painful. Worst I’ve been on the receiving end of is probably from our game against Grand Valley at Nationals last year. I wanna say Ben Teburgen squared me up pretty good. Wasn’t even looking his way and we were getting waxed by them so it only added insult to injury.
JL: Both sound very memorable. Well Doug, thank you for your time, and once again congratulations on being our December’s Baller of the Month. Is their anything you would like to say before we finish?
DS: Thank you again! Just a couple things for you: 1. Roll Dukes 2. Go Birds