Athlete Spotlight: Michael Kirkpatrick

Posted Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 12:00am

Michael Kirkpatrick came to America in 1999 as part of an exchange program. As fate would have it, he ended up living with a basketball coach in Newport News, Virginia. He began playing for Hampton Roads Academy and before long, talent was discovered and his career began.

Kirkpatrick is from Dexheim Germany, son of James and Angelika Kirkpatrick, and the oldest of three kids. He has two younger sisters and is the only one who plays basketball. He began playing basketball when he was 12 years old. The parents of Germany's best basketball player, Dennis Wucherer, taught at Kirkpatrick's school. They started an after school program and Kirkpatrick joined.

After earning Virginia's 'All State' award Kirkpatrick signed with North Carolina ANT, a Division I College. Things just didn't feel right and he decided to switch schools. He sent tapes to Oregon State and they got in touch with the CEU coaches and before long Coach Bryan Zollinger was recruiting Kirkpatrick. "We learned about him through a friend of a friend of a friend," Zollinger said. "We watched tapes, he played hard, showed leadership, and enthusiasm despite his situation." Kirkpatrick said, "CEU was the best opportunity, at the time, it was a quick decision, but everything works out. God always shows me the right way and this was it."

Kirkpatrick is playing point guard, his favorite position, for the CEU team and has been playing that position for the last five years. "Mike is a good all around player," Zollinger said, "He has strong work ethic, commitment, and enthusiasm for the game. He suffered an injury early in the season, had to have surgery, and sat out for most of the season. He has shown a lot of patience and dealt well with his frustration of not being able to play. He is a good basketball player, he can shoot, and most people enjoy that he is a genuine person."

Zollinger has observed how Kirkpatrick affects the game, "He is one of those guys that doesn't give up easy and doesn't let others give up when striving for a goal." Students at CEU have all been able to see this in watching him play. "He is great; so much fun to watch because he is so energetic, excited and into the game," students have said.

His favorite part of playing for CEU is pretty obvious, "I love playing for the school," Kirkpatrick stated, "For all the guys that work with me everyday and make it fun, but I just love playing." He also commented, "I am really impressed with all the students and people here. Everybody's nice and that's really different from where I went to school last year."

"Mike is a positive asset to the team, to the school, and to the community. We are really glad that he is here. He is definitely going to be successful in whatever he does as he moves on in life," Zollinger closed.

Kirkpatrick has signed and will be attending and playing ball for the University of San Diego next year where he will be majoring in psychology. He would eventually like to become a coach.

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