One-on-One with Natalie Pickwell
Friday, October 24, 2008

Leading up to the 2008-09 ETSU women's basketball season, the ETSU media relations office, with help from graduate assistant Lindsay Christensen, will feature player profiles on all 12 of the Lady Buccaneer student-athletes. This new segment allows fans to catch a glimpse of what each player is doing off the court, as the Lady Bucs look to make a run at their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.


Freshman and local area standout Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) spent some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions with ETSU women's basketball grant team member Lindsay Christensen.


Pickwell, a 5-11 freshman sharpshooter, was a three-sport all-conference selection at Sullivan South High School - where she starred in basketball, volleyball, and tennis. Pickwell averaged 14 points and six rebounds as a junior, and joined the 1,000-point club for the Rebels at the 2007 district tournament. The Kingsport, Tenn. native hit 43 percent of her shots during her junior season, including 31 percent from beyond the arc. She was also selected to the 2007 All-Big 9 first team and earned a spot on the 2007-08 All-Big 9 Preseason first team.


LC:  Natalie, why did you decide to come to ETSU?

NP:  I liked the team and the coaches. It seemed like a fun place to play.  Most importantly it was close to home, which is a big deal for me.  Also, Coach White (a former assistant) was the first person to recruit me. He stuck out in my mind when I was choosing where to go.


LC:  Tell me about your academic major.

NP:  I am going to major in Interior Design. They have a good program for it here at ETSU. It is something I have always been interested in and wanted to do. For a while I considered doing nursing, because there isn't a huge market for interior designers around here, and I thought I'd probably have to move to a big city. However, I'm going for it though, and I'll make it happen wherever I have to (preferably here), so I can do what I love.


LC:  What are your strengths and weaknesses on the court?  Also, what are you most focused on improving?

NP:  The best part of my game is my shooting. It is why I'm here. The worst parts are defense and ball handling. I'm currently trying to focus on improving my defense every day at practice. I always feel a step slower than the other girls and I really want to fix that!


LC:  What are your expectations for this year's team?

NP:  Everyone's expectations are obviously high for us this year.  I think we can do it, as long as we stop having so many injuries.


LC:  What are you expectations for yourself as a first year player at the Division I level?

NP:  I'm just hoping I can get some playing time, and build my confidence. I want to be able to play to my potential.


LC:  What do you do in your spare time?

NP:  What spare time? I don't have much, but when I do get some, I like to spend time with my friends. A lot of the people I went to high school with are around here, so I try to catch up with them as often as I can. I also go to "The Well," which is a church group for college students. They have music and a message each week, and religion is really important to me, so I go whenever I can to that. In addition, I do a lot of scrapbooking.  I like all the artsy stuff. 


LC:  If you had to move to a foreign country, what country would you choose, and why?

NP:  I would go to Australia.  I've always wanted to visit there.  Australia has such nice weather, a fun atmosphere, and lots of wild life. 


I'm going to Spain this summer to play basketball.  So that will be an experience in a different country.  I don't really know much about Spain, but it should be fun!


LC:  Who has been your biggest motivator?

NP:  I'd say my parents. They have always been there for me, no matter what. They give me the speech after every game. "This is what you did well.  This is what you need to do better." 


Also, my AAU coach, Justin Wimmer. He was very influential for me. He pushed me to play to my potential.


Finally, my boyfriend, Spud. He is always there to pick me up when I'm down. He encourages me to be my best and is a very important part of my life.


LC:  What is the biggest difference between college and high school?

NP:  The biggest things are time management and freedom. Since I don't have class all day long I have more free time, but I have more things to fill it up with. It is very different being on my own.


LC:  What is one drastic change you would make about yourself?

NP:  I would be more confident in myself.


LC:  What is the best part about being so close to home?

NP:  I have my family right here to support me. Plus, I am able to see my friends from high school. Since I know a lot of people in the area, I hope they will come support the team.  And, I don't have to go without "Pals." I am addicted to that place, and am not sure if I could live without it!


LC:  The worst part?

NP:  I don't know if there is a bad part. I love being here. I guess I'm not out there exploring, or seeing what it is like someplace else. I won't know what it is like to live anywhere but here.


LC:  If you could trade places with any teammate, who would it be, and why?

NP:  Probably Natasha. She has all those amazing music connections. She gets to meet famous people and go to concerts for free! Her life would be an adventure.

I would also trade with Shannon, because I would then get to hang out with me all the time!


LC: What are your plans for after graduation?

NP:  I want to travel after I finish school. Explore the world, especially Australia a bit.  Then I'd like to find a good job in interior design and make a go of it.


Fans can catch Natalie and the entire Lady Buccaneer team in action on Monday, Nov. 3, when ETSU hosts University of the Cumberlands in an exhibition contest. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Memorial Center.


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