A moment with one of the top ranked athletes in the U-Sport CANDAWEST, and yes...he's Australian.
Volleylink would like to welcome our first exclusive interview with a player that is argued to be one of Australia's most talented juniors ever to pursue university volleyball overseas. Alex Mcmullin or "stretch" as some would remember has made his mark in Canada as one the stars of the Canadawest conference and is enjoying every step in his journey abroad as a student athlete. Alex is currently leading the way in a country that is now booming with volleyball success attracting popularity from many young Australians and athletes worldwide. Volleylink caught up with Alex to hear all about his experience so far at one of Canada's most prestigious and successful university volleyball programs.
Which University do you play for, what course do you study and what year of eligibility are you currently in?
I play for the University of Alberta Golden Bears, currently completing my Bachelor of Kinesiology majoring in Sport Performance, and I am in my 4th year of eligibility.
Can you please sum up your overall U-Sport- CanadaWest experience in 3 words?
Memorable, fulfilling, and challenging
Can you sum up Alberta in 3 words?
Beautiful, friendly, and cold
Why did you choose to play in Canada initially how did it come about?
So, after spending almost 2 years at the AIS with the national team it was time for me to gain further match experience playing abroad. The Australian men's team coach at the time John Uriarte played with my current coach Terry Danyluk back in the 80's which formed the connection for me to sign and play with the Golden Bears here in Edmonton. The U of A was my one and only option here in Canada at the time and I had always wanted to finish my degree while still playing volleyball so that is why I chose playing for a university rather than a professional club in Europe.
How has playing in Canada changed you as person and player?
Playing here in Canada has enabled me to grow as a person and as a player more than I could imagine. As a player, the weekly match experience over the course of a season means I have evolved and learnt to be more consistent and resilient as a player, as well as my leadership skills have also grown substantially over the course of the 4 years I have been here. And as a person, the connections I have been able to make not just as a player/student at the U of A but also in the volleyball community across the whole country has been extraordinary.
What is your most memorable moment in the to date?
My most memorable moment to date would have to be winning the national championship in my first year with the Bears. Being a part of that team in my first year really sealed the deal on me wanting to complete my degree and my 5 years of eligibility here in Edmonton.
Do you hope to play professionally after your complete your 5 years of eligibility?
I do have aspirations to play professionally after I have completed my five years at the U of A. I also wish to complete the 2 year physiotherapy after-degree program so we will see where the future takes me.
Do you plan to return home and play for the Volleyroos once your studies are complete in Canada?
I have always hoped to return back home and play for the Volleyroos again once my studies are complete. I had an unforgettable experience at the AIS and with the national team before I moved to Canada so I definitely wish to represent Australia again for volleyball!
What advice would you give to young Aussie’s interested in the university pathway?
I would say go for it! It is a big step to make the move half way across the world but the experiences you gain both as a player and as a person are priceless in my eyes. Not to mention the opportunity you have to complete your schooling while playing volleyball is a pretty rare and special opportunity so I would say take it while you can!
1. Canadian people? Yes or No
2. Canadian Weather? Yes or No
3. The Student Athlete Lifestyle? Yes or No
4. Favourite Volleyball skill: Defence and Passing
5. Most idolised Volleyball player: Ricardo Lucarelli
6. Tim Hortons or Starbucks? Tim Hortons
7. Quiznos or Subway? Subway
8. Favourite thing to do in Edmonton: Walking down Whyte Ave in the summer time
9. Favourite team-mate on the Golden Bears: Clark Spencer
10. Favourite town/city to travel to for away matches: Vancouver, British Columbia
11. Sleeveless Jerseys: Yes or No
12. University athlete life or CoE/AIS life? University athlete life
13. Queensland or Edmonton? Queensland
14. The thing I miss most about Australia is... the sun and the sandy beaches!
15. On rest days, you will find me.. studying inside and staying warm!
Volleylink wishes Alex and his team all the best as the Golden Bears take on Trinity Western for the 2017/2018 CanadaWest Championship this weekend.