May 2, 2012
Spending five years at Wake Forest, Camille Collier shined on the court playing guard as well as in the classroom. Collier earned her sociology degree in 2011 and will be receiving her MA in education in May. The Washington, D.C. native suffered two separate ACL injuries during her career as a Demon Deacon, but finished up her junior season as the team's top three-point shooter and made the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Maggie Cancelosi sat down with Camille to talk about basketball, ideal leadership qualities in a coach, and her love of Chris Paul.
Q: Looking back at the last five years, who are some people at Wake Forest who have made a difference in your life?
A: I want to thank all of my coaches, teammates and everybody in the Academic Services with Miss Caldwell, Elizabeth, Julie, Dwight, all of my tutors and the professors. I came to Wake Forest five years ago-- not sure what I wanted to do, or who I wanted to become. They've all played a huge part in helping me mature, grow and develop. They pushed me to places that I didn't wanted to be and I was trying to fight them about that, but I genuinely appreciate all of them and love them for that. I feel indebted to Wake Forest and I've had a great five years here and hope to make the community proud wherever I go.
Q: How frustrating was it to tear the same ACL twice?
Q: With your injuries, you were forced to be more of a leader off-the-court. How are the on-court vs. off-court leadership styles different?
A: Oh wow [laughs to herself]. It's very frustrating because you work so hard in rehab and do everything that you're supposed to do. It's not just frustrating for me, but also for Tyson, Scott, the coaching staff, and your teammates--they're the support system and helping me as I try to work through the injury. Tyson and Scott worked with me every day, except for when they made me take off, to get it back together. It was extremely frustrating to go down and end my senior year like that and you feel like you let people down when that happens. Just like last year, it offered me the opportunity to come back for a fifth year.
A: I think that they're similar--a lot of it is just taking pride in being a Wake Forest student-athlete. I think you realize that you have to conduct yourself in a certain manner and represent the team and the school in a positive way. Being off-the-court has allowed me to do a lot more community service, give back and set the bar for some of my teammates. Also I think it put me more in a mentoring role where you help your teammates going through things that you've been through, and that's where I was able to do more of that off-the-court.
Q: How would you have described your relationship with Coach Petersen?
A: I think with any coach, you go through ups and downs and there are times when you don't always get along or agree, but you grow. I think that Coach Pete and I have a great relationship right now--communication is the biggest key to any relationship, and I think that both of us have learned how to communicate with each other. That's one of the most important things for any team. We know what one another is thinking, which can be kind of scary at times because we say the same thing, but that's just part of being around each other for so long.
Q: I've been told that you're interested in coaching. Would you like to coach at the high school, college or professional level?
A: I want to coach at the college level--that's what I'm working on right now and trying to get my foot in the door. I think that we stress a lot about getting students into college, but we don't always talk about how to keep them there. I think that college sports is a great venue to help keep kids there while providing them with opportunities that a scholarship offers you and play the game that you love.
Q: What qualities are ideal in a coach?
A: Well I'm not picking the new coach but, [laughs to herself] I think a good coach is someone that is a very strong leader. Somebody that has good communication skills, a passion for the game, a great work ethic, and someone that's really caring. I think that people don't realize, and it's one of the reasons why I want to get into coaching, is the importance of the mentoring role that you have for student-athletes and the role model that you can be for the young women on the team. I hope that whoever we hire will embody those traits and the importance of the Wake Forest tradition. With being in the ACC and being on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament, we just need to get over that hump.
Q: How many pairs of basketball sneakers have you accumulated over the years?
A: Too many to count. Honestly, not as many as others because when I fall in love with a pair of sneakers, I don't want to change. In my senior year of high school, I wore two pairs of sneakers and switched them on and off and wore them until the soles fell out.
Q: What moments are you most proud of from your basketball career at Wake Forest?
A: Freshman year we won the Virgin Islands Tournament, which was great. Junior year we were at Virginia Tech and we were down, and I wouldn't say that I'm known for my defensive ability but I made a couple of defensive plays that helped spark things.
This one is off the court, but the first time we went to Boston, Brooke Thomas and Brittany Waters had never been there and starting making snow angels. That was so funny, and I kept telling them that they were going to catch pneumonia.
Q: Who are your role models?
A: My parents--they're the strongest people that I know, and they have sacrificed so much for my sister and myself that there is no way that I could ever repay them. I want to make them proud. Also my grandmother and great-grandmother--I don't want to leave anyone out. Finally, my sister--she's her own person and she is so strong and has overcome a lot of adversity so she's someone that I look up to. I love the way she carries herself.
Q: I watched your My Five and noticed that you love Chris Paul. Have you ever met him? What are your favorite qualities about him?
A: I have met him on numerous occasions--he's a great guy. I just think that he's so genuine. Every time I've met him, he's the same guy there and on TV and he doesn't try to be somebody that he's not. He's such a competitor, and wherever he goes he makes a team better and everybody always talks about the leadership that he brings into the locker room. He also really cares about his community. Even when he was traded to the Clippers, he still cares about the New Orleans community.
Q: What are your favorite Wake Forest sporting events to attend?
A: I like my volleyball, because my roommate, Kadija Fornah, is one of the top volleyball players. I'm a huge sports fan, so I have to say of course football and basketball. I also like going to field hockey games because I love hearing Coach Averill make passionate speeches at halftime and watching her coach. Also, I like watching soccer because I used to play it in high school. I have to give a shout-out to my boy Jay [Coach Jay Vidovich] with men's soccer that I'm willing to wash his car and take it for a test drive whenever. He already knows, I love watching his teams too.
Q: Being a female athlete can be tough--do you feel like you're under more scrutiny than men or that you have to prove yourself even more?
A: I think that you show up, play and let your actions speak louder than your words. We can't worry so much about competing with the guys for the attention because we don't play to show that we're better than them. We play because we want to be the best that we can be. In the society that we're in, they're going to celebrate men's sports more, but as long as we continue to show the women's game in a positive light and continue to grow the sport, then we'll get more respect.