Hot Seat: Carissa Verkaik
Jess Koster sat down with newly-named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year and three-time MIAA Player of the Year, senior Carissa Verkaik. Verkaik holds Calvin’s scoring, blocking and rebounding records as well as numerous other single season and single game records. This is Hot Seat:
Koster: Tell us about yourself. How old are you?
Verkaik: I am 21 years old.
Where are you from?
How many siblings do you have?
I have three siblings, two younger sisters and a younger brother.
What is your major?
Elementary education with minors in math and PE.
What brought you to Calvin?
I loved the community here. As soon as I walked I campus, I just felt that there was a different community style that was definitely more God-centered and I really loved the fact that I knew that my relationship with Christ was going to be stretched.
What first got you interested in basketball?
When I was younger, my dad signed my sisters and I up for a 3-on-3 tournament in Grandville. That kinda got it all started after that. I fell in love with it.
What is the best part about playing basketball?
I love the competition but I also love the teammates. I can’t say that there is one thing I love the most. But I think competing and also just the girls you’re with. It’s a lot of fun.
What is your best basketball memory?
I’d have to say that its the learning experiences and the practices I have with my dad. I really built a really strong relationship with him. He was the one who coached me a lot individually and I spent a lot of quality time with him and I really look back and miss those times.
What are your interests besides basketball?
I love to hang out with friends. I am also on the track team at Calvin College. I like to read when I have time and I also spending time with family and camping.
What are some of your favorites? Favorite color?
Favorite color is blue.
Favorite music is country.
I guess the most recent one would be “The Hunger Games” series.
Gotta go with the chick flicks.
Favorite sports teams?
Oh, Patriots all the way for football and then I follow the Tigers a little bit. Lions are my second favorite football team but they haven’t been too promising lately.
Tell us about a significant person in your life whom you really look up to.
My dad, for sure.
What do you hope to do when you grow up?
I hope to be an elementary teacher somewhere. I really love working with kids and also with other people and learning from them as well.
What are some of your greatest basketball accomplishments before coming to Calvin?
Making it to the semi-finals in high school.
How hard was it to adjust to college basketball coming out of high school?
Personally, it wasn’t too bad. I think the seniors on the team made it really easy. I had great leadership with Brooke VanEck, Emily Ottenhof and Amber Benthem my freshman year and they really helped a lot.
Who helped you improve your game while at Calvin?
I would have to say my dad and coach Ross.
What advice do you have for younger players?
That if you really enjoy it, work hard and challenge yourself. Always strive to do your best.
What is your fondest memory of playing basketball at Calvin?
I’d say playing with the team and also Jill Thomas’ 3-point shot beating Hope that was a great moment.
You have broken the scoring, blocking and rebounding records. Any thoughts on this?
I can’t take any of the credit. I have been given the ability to play basketball and I also have been surrounded by great teammates who have helped me get there every step of the way.
How do you plan on continuing to play basketball after college?
Probably just in pick up and I hope to coach somewhere someday.
If you had to pick one person, historical or living, to have lunch with, who would it be?
I think I would pick Paul from the Bible. I’d really love to talk about what he saw on the road to Damascus. Just the fact that he was so against Christianity and changed. I’d really love to just talk about that.
What is the best Calvin dorm?
Noordewier ‘cause I lived there.
What is one thing you cannot survive without?
If you were stranded on a desert island, which of your teammates would you eat first?
Uhh… Ally Wolffis.
Commons or Knollcrest?
What do you look for in a guy?
What? Why are we asking these questions? Well, height is a big factor. His character is another one.
What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Lots of vegetables. Yogurt. Water. Oh and pasta.
What is the last book you read for fun?
“Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry”
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, living or dead, with whom would it be? So basically anybody.
For a week? Any NBA player. I’d want to see what its like to be that athletic.
What was the last movie you went to see?
Shoot. It’s one that just came out. It has Brad Pitt in it. Umm. “Jack Reacher.”
What is the best pizza topping?