The first Rutgers basketball practice for center Shaquille Doorson was a whirlwind after missing summer conditioning and workouts. Taking the court for the first time Sunday, Doorson felt exhausted after going for almost four hours.
The 6-foot-11 center had a lot to take in before hitting the showers Sunday afternoon. He had one lasting memory from the workout that stuck in his mind.
“I dunked -- I’m happy about that,” Doorson said. “But my defense is also improving. First it’s defense and then offense here.”
The dunk was a powerful two-handed slam, and the first of many for Doorson, who goes by “Shaq.”
“We know what he is,” said coach Eddie Jordan. “He’s a real great kid. He’s a competitor. He’s got terrific size and weight. He wants to dunk everything. I like that mindset and that approach. I like what he’s doing.”
“The beginning of this was very hard because you have to get adjusted to it,” Doorson said. “It’s pretty amazing though. I can’t wait for the season to start. You don’t even want to know how excited I am for that. I’m exhausted but it’s all good. I have to be doing that so I can compete. It’s better for me to do it this way.”
Doorson committed to Pittsburgh initially out of the Canaries Basketball Academy, but did not enroll during the summer. He explored other options, including an official visit to Rutgers, and hit it off with Jordan and the new assistant coaches.
“Coach Jordan is the funniest coach I’ve ever had,” Doorson said. “He’s funny and serious at the same time. It’s the perfect combination. I think he’s one of the best coaches in the NCAA or NBA. I’m happy to play for him.”
The inability to work out this summer with the staff and players was tough on Doorson, he said, but the transition since enrolling in September has been a smooth one.
“It was hard,” Doorson said. “I’m disappointed that I couldn’t be here for the summer but that’s just the way it was. It was amazing when I finally got here. My teammates came up to me and we bonded since the second I moved in.”