Paquin adjusts to university ball
Like most first-year players, Destiny Paquin is learning on the fly with the Brock Badgers women’s basketball team.
The 18-year-old Welland native has played in seven of Brock’s 12 games this season and is averaging 12.6 minutes, 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds a game for the 10-2 Badgers
“It’s going really well,” the 18-year-old Welland native said. “It’s not only fun having a new team — everyone is super accepting — but we are also doing really well as a team.”
The 5-foot-11 guard/forward has played a high of 23 minutes in one game and a low of five minutes.
“When I look back at my own stats, the games where I played a lot, I was doing really well statistics wise,” the Welland Centennial grad said. “I wasn’t thinking about it and I was just playing.
“Everything that (head coach Mike) Rao tells us was in the back of my head and I just did it. And I focused on defence which is important for our team.”
The opposite is true when her minutes are scarce.
“The games that I didn’t play much I was getting in my own head, having turnovers, dribbling really high and I was super nervous,” she said. “I have to get out of my own head.”
Rao likes what he has seen so far from the former Niagara Joel player, but there is work yet to be done.
“She has to learn the pace of the game and the physicality of the game and hopefully she gets there,” he said. “This is her learning year, there’s a curve that goes along with that and we are hoping that she gets there quick.”
He feels Paquin needs to focus in on a number of areas.
“She has to get away from the scoring aspect and just do all the little things that keep you on the court: Defend a bit; rebound a bit; and, screen a bit. If she does those things she be alright.”
Rao also wants to see her play with a sense of urgency.
“She has to keep going and she has to keep her motor going all the time. She needs that sense of high energy.”
He feels her ceiling as a basketball player is high.
“She has got an enormous amount of skill and once she is able to focus her talents in one direction, I think she is going to be a good player.”
Paquin knows she has work to do.
“I need to get stronger but I feel my speed has improved a lot,” she said. “I also need to work on the mental aspect and when that comes together, it will help in all areas of the game.”
Paquin is also adjusting to being a student/athlete.
“It is a lot busier than it is in high school,” she said. “I don’t want to talk bad about high school but it didn’t really prepare me academically so I had to figure out a lot myself with regards to that.”
Time management is the key for her.
“I have to tell myself that even when I don’t want to do my biology homework, I have to because I need to make sure I keep my grades up,” she said. “If I don’t, I won’t be able to play basketball. It’s a really great way to stay focused on school as well.”
She is studying concurrent education and hoping to teach physical education and history.
The ninth-ranked Brock women started the second half of the season with a 9-1 record and ended up splitting its games last week. Rao is always looking for more improvement in his squad.
“We have to play better together and that’s our key,” he said. “If everyone becomes somewhat of a threat, I think we are a better team.”
That philosophy is the same one Rao employed as a high school coach in Welland.
“It’s Notre Dame Basketball 101,” he said. “I can’t deny that and it is what I have always done. I want other teams to defend everybody on the floor and if they don’t, they are going to pay.”
That is accomplished by playing as a team.
“We have to share the ball a little more and we have to move better offensively and defensively together,” he said. If one player is moving and four aren’t it’s disjointed. We need players with the same focus and the same direction.”