As the seventh ranked UCLA Bruins (26-3) prepare for the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Edison High School grad, Doreena Campbell prepares for the opportunity to lead the Bruins to their first NCAA Women’s Division 1 Basketball Championship. Campbell, a senior guard, is wrapping up her career in Los Angeles and leaving behind a lasting Westwood legacy that even legendary Bruin coach John Wooden would be impressed with.
Just last week, Campbell was named to the All-Pac 10 team, making her just the fourth Bruin ever to earn All Pac-10 honors in each of her four years at UCLA.
Campbell, a 2007 graduate of Edison High School, and member of the 2007 AAA State Runner –Up Eagle basketball team, was highly recruited out of high school. Over 40 schools showed interest in Campbell, as she ended up deciding on UCLA over Stanford, Virginia, George Washington, and a host of others. Campbell averaged 21.6 points per game (PPG) during her senior year at Edison, and garnered a plethora of post-season honors for her efforts.
Now in her fourth year at UCLA, Campbell remains in the spotlight. She entered this season as UCLA's all-time career three-point and free throw percentage leader.
Patch had a chance to catch up with Campbell between games and hear how she is doing 2700 miles from her Northern Virginia home.
PATCH: How has your California experience been thus far?
CAMPBELL: California is great! You can’t beat California. I’ve become kind of who I am now. Being at a large university, being able to meet a lot of different people, it’s been an experience. People out here are a lot more laid back than we are on the east coast.
PATCH: What was the biggest transition you noticed from high school to collegiate level basketball?
CAMPBELL: The difference in physicality. People are a lot stronger, physical. The games have a faster pace to them; even the workouts and practice. There’s a different level of commitment. Not only do you have community service, but you have educational things. You’re going on away trips where you’re gone every other weekend; sometimes three or four days out of the week.
PATCH: How long have you been playing basketball?
CAMPBELL: I’ve been playing basketball since I was seven years old. I’m 21 now, so for 14 years.
PATCH: Are you a Virginia native?
CAMPBELL: My parents are military so we travelled quite a few places. But the place I’ve spent the longest in has been Virginia.
PATCH: Being a military kid, what has been the most interesting place you’ve lived?
CAMPBELL: Hawaii. We lived in Hawaii for a year and a half when I was 11.
PATCH: Do you come from an athletic family? Did any of your siblings or parents play sports?
CAMPBELL: My dad played sports in college (Tufts University) and my brother, who is a sophomore, currently plays (basketball) at Edison High School.
PATCH: Growing up, what were your favorite sports to watch?
CAMPBELL: When I watch sports, I like to watch basketball. But college football has been real interesting. Once you figure out all the rules, it’s really exciting.
PATCH: Have you been to any UCLA games at the Rose Bowl?
CAMPBELL: Yes. I’ve actually been to quite a few UCLA games. I’ve gotten to walk on the field a few times and that was really cool.
PATCH: How often to you make it back home to Virginia?
CAMPBELL: In the past four years, I’ve probably only been back home for a total of two months.
PATCH: Did you experience a bit of culture shock in L.A.?
CAMPBELL: No, it wasn’t too much culture shock, if anything, there was a weather shock!
PATCH: I bet your military background helped you with the transition.
CAMPBELL: I’d have to say that it definitely did.
PATCH: You’re a senior this year, what’s your degree going to be in?
CAMPBELL: African-American studies.
PATCH: What are your career aspirations? Do you want to play professionally?
CAMPBELL: I’m going to go to grad school after undergrad. I’m looking into the sciences, chemistry, I’m not sure.
PATCH: In closing, who are some of the most famous people that you’ve seen while in California?
CAMPBELL: I’ve seen Mike Tyson, Rick Fox, Tyreese Gibson, and John Goodman!
Campbell and the Bruins begin their run at the 2011 National Championship next Saturday. Regardless of the Bruins’ outcome in this year’s tournament, Campbell will leave UCLA not only with a host of conference and school honors, but also memories and experience that will last a lifetime.