In the most recent installment of his "Forgotten Legends" interview series, CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with Kelly Golob, who is the all-time leading scorer in Northern Arizona University history. A three-time All-Big Sky performer, Golob also ranks second in school history with 295 three pointers made.
Jon Teitel: Why did you choose to attend NAU?
Kelly Golob: I chose NAU because they had just made the NCAA tourney in 2000 and my goal for playing Division I basketball was to play in the tourney, which is the greatest sporting event there is.
JT: You were known for having an unorthodox shooting release. Is that just the way you 1st learned to shoot, and did you just stick with it because it worked?
KG: I cannot really explain how I learned to shoot the way I did. I get asked that a lot, but it just naturally developed as I took thousands of shots every week while growing up and getting stronger. Some people tried to get me to change my form, but I practiced that way so much that my technique was ingrained into every muscle of my body.
JT: During your career you were a three-time All-Big Sky performer. How were you able to dominate throughout your college career?
KG: I was very fortunate to have many great teammates, and more importantly many great people. I can honestly say that I would not have been nearly as successful if I had not had the privilege of playing with twelve of my closest friends every season. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and therefore I would definitely say that luck had a lot to do with it.
JT: In 2004 you made a career-high 10 three-point shots against San Diego. Was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were "in the zone"?
KG: That game was one that I will never forget. It was the last day before our three-day Christmas break and everyone was feeling great. San Diego played a zone almost the entire game, and kept leaving me open in the corner. Since that was my favorite spot on the court, I just felt like I was at practice.
JT: In 2006 you scored 20 points in a win over Eastern Washington, but Rodney Stuckey scored a school-record 45 points in the loss. Could you tell at the time that Stuckey was going to become a star?
KG: We all knew that Stuckey was a special player; even as a freshman, he was one of the most complete players I played against in my college career. He was the type of player who would do anything and everything that his team needed him to do, and that ability combined with his physical gifts were a good sign that he would be great.
JT: In 2006 you were named an Academic All-American. What role did academics play in your life and how rigorous were your classes?
KG: Academics were always important for me at NAU, although I confess that for most of the year I had to exert a lot more effort in the gym! My major was Exercise Physiology, with a minor in Chemistry. It was a tremendous program to prepare health care professionals, and when I reached Chiropractic School I realized how well-prepared my courses had made me.
JT: You finished your career as the leading scorer in NAU history. Did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were?
KG: Going into my senior season, I realized that I had a chance to set the school's all-time scoring record. However, my primary goal every season was to win the Big Sky title and make it to the NCAA tourney. I would have traded my record in a second for the chance to play in the Big Dance.
JT: At the conclusion of your career you were awarded an NCAA post-graduate scholarship. What did this honor mean to you, and what course of study did you pursue?
KG: Receiving the scholarship was a huge honor, and in hindsight, it is an even greater honor than earning a Division I scholarship. After playing one season professionally, I entered Chiropractic School, which had always been my goal since high school.
JT: You played professionally in Germany after graduating. What did you learn from the experience, and how did it compare to college basketball?
KG: Living in Germany taught me a lot about the European lifestyle/sports culture. Their style of basketball is different from college in a lot of ways. The training, practices, and strategic philosophies are all different, but even so, basketball is still the best game on earth no matter how it is played.
JT: When people look back on your career, what do you want them to remember the most?
KG: I hope that people remember my career as an example of the accomplishments that can come when someone works hard and treats people well in all aspects of their life. I was extremely blessed to have success on so many levels (athletically, academically, and personally), and I would like to think that much of that was the result of staying humble, being disciplined, working hard, and having fun.
Kelly is also on Jon's list of best fantasy players in Big Sky history:
Eastern Washington: Ron Cox (1977) 1,741 PTS (#1), 1,273 REB (#1), 62.9 FG% (#1), three-time All-American
Idaho State: Steve Hayes (1977) 1,933 PTS (#2), 1,147 REB (#1), 207 BLK (#1)
Montana: Larry Krystkowiak (1986) 2,017 PTS (#1), 1,105 REB (#1), 56.5 FG% (#4), three-time conference Player of the Year
Montana State: Nate Holmstadt (1999) 1,864 PTS (#2), 785 REB (#3), 83 BLK (#5)
Northern Arizona: Kelly Golob (2006) 1,550 PTS (#1), 295 3PM (#2), 85.1 FT% (#3)
Northern Colorado: Mike Higgins (1989) 2,112 PTS (#1), 959 REB (#1), 131 STL (#3), 302 BLK (#1), All-American
Portland State: Freeman Williams (1978) 3,249 PTS (#1), two-time All-American
Sacramento State: Robert Martin (1989) 1,774 PTS (#1), 147 STL (#4), 294 3PM (#1)
Weber State: Bruce Collins (1980) 2,019 PTS (#1), 879 REB (#3)