The Return Of Doudney
Nov. 30, 2005
Two years ago senior Nathan Doudney transferred to Gonzaga University with the hopes of helping the Bulldogs continue their string of NCAA Tournament appearances.
While the Bulldogs did indeed advance to their seventh straight NCAA Tournament, Doudney had to watch from the bench as his former team (Texas Tech University) ended the Bulldogs run in the second round.
"That was a really hard game to sit out and watch from the sidelines," mentioned Doudney, who missed a majority of last season with a severe knee injury. "That game was personal to me and it was difficult not to be a part of it."
After sitting out the 2004 season with a redshirt season based on NCAA transfer rules, Doudney found himself in the starting line-up for a very young Bulldogs squad entering 2005. Doudney made the most of his first opportunity in a GU uniform with 14 points in the season opener against Portland State University. After appearing in the first seven games the guard from Rockwall, Texas, had his season come to a sudden end when he was involved in a collision during the Washington State University game that resulted in a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus damage.
This season Gonzaga is loaded with guards as Doudney fights his way back into the mix of earning those precious minutes for a team ranked No. 7 in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.
"I've been working hard on getting my knee back into shape and I think it is close to 100 percent," mentioned Doudney on his injury. "Now I have to get back into the flow of playing basketball and work my way back into the line-up. I just want to be able to help this team succeed anyway possible, whether that's on the court or off."
A standout shooting guard at Rockwall High in suburban Dallas, Doudney headed to Texas Tech playing for coach Bob Knight for two seasons. He appeared in all 65 games over the two-year span with 12 starts. As a freshman Doudney helped the Red Raiders advance to the NCAA Tournament before a third-place finish in the 2003 NIT as a sophomore.
Following his sophomore year Doudney looked to transfer and was impressed by what head coach Mark Few and his staff were doing at Gonzaga.
"I was really impressed by the staff at Gonzaga and realized that they had built a good winning program," Doudney said. "I thought I would really fit in with this team and I thought they had a good chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament every year."
In the two years since his arrival on the Spokane campus, Gonzaga has indeed advanced to the NCAA Tournament but Doudney has had to watch from the bench during both seasons. This year he would like to end his collegiate career playing on the floor at the NCAA Tournament.
"Ending my college career at the NCAA Tournament would mean a lot to me," added the business major. "Every year it is a goal for this program and this year it has also become a personal goal for me. This team has the potential to make another run in the NCAA's and I hope that both the team and myself are playing well late into March."
To get to March the Bulldogs will face a loaded schedule that includes the likes of the University of Washington, Oklahoma State University, University of Virginia, University of Memphis, Saint Joseph's University and Stanford University. In addition the Bulldogs will host the West Coast Conference Tournament, looking to win their seventh WCC Tournament championship in the last eight seasons.
"We have a great schedule this season," stated Doudney. "I'm really looking forward to playing in Maui. Any time you can play in a field that includes Maryland, Michigan State, Arizona, Connecticut and Kansas, you have to be excited."
And so the excitement starts on Nov. 18 for the native Texan as he and his highly ranked Bulldog teammates start out on another quest for an NCAA Tournament bid hoping this year's adventure ends with a trip to Indianapolis and this year's Final Four.
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