January 30, 2009

Nankivil uses big game to boost confidence

MADISON, Wis. - Forward Keaton Nankivil had his best offensive game against Purdue earlier this week as he caught fire from beyond the arc. Now, after his 21-point outburst, the sophomore has developed a confidence that was lacking earlier in the season.

Following a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with Nankivil. The following is a question and answer with UW's big man.

Looking at the film from the last game, how much confidence do you get from a game like you had the other night on a personal level?

Nankivil: It's one of those things because basketball is such a confidence driven sport. It helps a lot because the other night I felt like I could put up anything and it might just fall in which was luck of the draw. Then coming to practice today, you feel like you miss one and you say, 'well, maybe it will happen next time,' or something like that. Whereas earlier in the season when I wasn't shooting as well you take that one shot and miss it and say, 'well, it might not be worth taking the next one.' So it definitely helps a lot, especially in basketball where there are so many possessions, so many plays. Confidence is a huge thing.

Do you think you needed that game?

Nankivil: It definitely didn't hurt. I know I've been struggling sometimes on offense but it's one of those things where it definitely helps. You can look at it and say this is kind of hopefully a turning point for my game personally but more importantly hopefully it's just one of those things we can all build on. It was a close, one-point game against a good team, but we need that confidence as a team. It was a loss and we're obviously disappointed about it, but it was against a good team and you can look at it and say that we played them close, maybe we have a chance to beat some other good teams.

I hate to keep throwing confidence out there, but when you look back at some of these close losses against some good teams, what kind of effect does that have on this team? Is it something you can build from?

Nankivil: Yeah, after five losses it's kind of hard to look at it that way, but if you look at them each individually there are things that we do good and there are things that we do bad. We just have to keep looking at the good stuff and improving on it and get rid of the bad stuff. That's where a game like that can come in because there was a lot of stuff we did good, a lot of stuff we did bad. We just need to grab a hold of the good stuff and build on it in the next games.

You mentioned how earlier in the season when you would miss a shot it would sway you from taking another one. How tough was that to wrap your mind around and did having a game like you just had make it any easier?

Nankivil: I mean it helps, I don't know how long it's going to last (because) I've never experienced anything like this shooting wise.

You mean you weren't knocking them down like that in high school?

Nankivil: Oh no, one a game was about my limit. It's just hopefully going to be something I can work with because sometimes I feel like I'm out there on offense and not doing my team any help when I can't take the open shot and they're sitting there doubling Marcus Landry and putting a double on Joe Krabbenhoft when he's in the post or being able to close out on Pop (Trevon Hughes) easily. More than anything, I just hope it can help my teammates get some good open looks and hope the team gets to a higher percentage shooting than now.

Do you ever feel like you put too much pressure on yourself at times?

Nankivil: I've always been the hardest person on myself. That's how I grew up, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel like for me to be able to perform that's the way I have to do it. A lot of people told me don't do it that way, but it's just part of who I am I guess. So I do put pressure on myself and pressure is one of the things I've tried to learn to deal with. Hopefully it keeps working.

How do you sustain your offensive production?

Nankivil: Just keep working. We come in everyday in practice. You guys (the media) get to see it, but a lot of people see the games and I know when I was in high school watching college basketball, that's where it ended. We just got to keep working hard and keep doing what we're told and get a W.

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