U-News sat down with senior guard Rob Whitfield to discuss his life, path to loving basketball and time at UMKC. Whitfield is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina and is playing his second season here at UMKC.
Q: What’s it like growing up where you’re from?
A: Where I’m from in Raleigh, North Carolina it’s not so cool, and every city has their bad parts. Growing up I kind of had the bad part, and I’m just trying to get out of it.
Q: When did you first fall in love with basketball?
A: I fell in love with basketball at the age of 10, I was playing with this coach outside in the PNC Arena, and ever since that day it was boom, I’m going to play basketball.
Q: What is your favorite basketball memory?
A: My best friend, D.K., and I were playing at the boys and girls club in the area. Everyone was used to us playing on the same team, and they finally split us up. One day he was guarding me on a fast break play, and I dropped and made him fall. He fell into his bench just sat there, and the coach just subbed him at the same time. I couldn’t even finish the play it was so funny.
Q: Who is your hero?
A: My coach Collin Perry; he’s more like a guardian to me. If it wasn’t for him honestly I wouldn’t be right here where I’m at today. He helped me to private school, and my trainer was basically him. So everything I was working on growing up came from him. I still talk to him till this day; he’s basically like a dad to me.
Q: What made you choose UMKC?
A: I went to Hutchinson Community College, and this is the only visit I took coming out of Hutchinson. I took [the visit], and I talked to my coach back home, and he said, “If that’s where you think you can fit then that’s where you need to be.” I just fell in love from there.
Q: What made you stay after everyone started to leave?
A: Honestly Coach Donlon; he talked to us and was telling us everything he wanted us to do as far as goals and how he wanted us to play. Then JG (senior Jordan Giles)—that’s my roommate; that’s my guy from last year; X (Xavier Bishop) was my guy too—but JG stuck here with me, and I feel like that is a main key to me staying.
Q: What does it mean to be a Roo?
A: Just going out there being tough and laying it out there on the court every night.
Whitfield will play his final home game as a Roo Saturday, Feb. 29 for senior night at 7 p.m. in the Swinney Center.