This 'Dawg likes packs

Nikiski's Queen puts team before individual statistics

Posted: Tuesday, February 29, 2000

Jamie Queen

In athleticsP>

Grabbed five balls for 96 yards, an average of 19.2 yards a catch, for Nikiski's football team this season before injury sidelined him after three games.

Averages about 16 points and 10 rebounds per game for Nikiski's basketball team.

Plays goalie for the Bulldogs soccer team.

Jumped 6 feet, 1 inch in the high jump as a junior. The leap tied him for second in the season's final state bests.

Away from sports

Earns A's and B's in the classroom.

Is involved in the National Honor Society.

Wants to study elementary education in college.

Anyone who wants to understand what makes Nikiski senior Jamie Queen tick should have walked into his living room, as his parents did, after the Bulldogs basketball team dropped a recent game.

Queen, a 6-foot-3 senior forward who averages about 16 points and 10 rebounds per game for the 7-13 Bulldogs, had just finished another productive outing.

Yet when Judith and Don Queen came upon their son, his head was buried in his hands in dismay. "Mom and dad," Queen said, "I just don't know what else I can do."

Queen's parents tried to console their son by telling him he couldn't win them all, but the point had been made.

Queen doesn't care about himself and his stats. He cares about the team.

"Even if he has a great game, he still feels badly if the team doesn't do well," Judith said. "He wants to see the whole team succeed.

"Even as a kid when he was playing baseball, he tried to get the whole group to work together. His focus wasn't on himself, it was on the whole group."

Nobody is quite sure how Queen grew to cherish the concept of team. He grew up constantly playing sports with his brother, 1999 Nikiski graduate Russell, and Don was often coach of the teams of his sons.

"I'm not sure why I like team sports so much better, but that may have something to do with it," Jamie said.

Not surprisingly, Queen has spent the majority of his time at Nikiski engaged in team sports. He plays football in the fall, basketball in the winter and soccer in the spring.

The winter, Queen has had to do something he's never had to do before for Nikiski's hoops team -- be a leader.

"It's been different," said Queen, who has lived in Nikiski his entire life. "I've always had older guys showing me how it is, like my brother and the guys before him."

Nikiski basketball coach Reid Kornstad, who says Queen is his most productive player, has noticed increased maturity in his forward.

"It'll be a good man someday," Kornstad said of Queen. "He's learning some lessons this season.

"He's learning about hard work, and what it takes to make a commitment and make sacrifices to carry through with that commitment. It's exciting to see him grow that way as a man."

This fall, Queen showed his commitment to Nikiski's football team by staying involved after a shoulder injury finished his season after three games.

As a wide receiver, the senior hauled in five balls for 96 yards, an average of 19.2 yards a catch.

"It was pretty tough," Queen said of the injury, which still bothers him but is not as bad as it was during football. "At first, I didn't think it was that bad. It was one of those things that never got better.

"If I would have taken another hit, I would have messed it up again."

That didn't stop Queen from being a part of Nikiski's run to its third straight Great Land Conference title.

"He still was a part of the team and still came to most of the practices even though he was hurt," Nikiski football coach Scott Anderson said. "I really appreciated that he would do that for us."

The one aberration in Queen's undying devotion to the team came last spring, when he was torn between track and soccer.

Queen, a starting goalie for the soccer team who has dunked a basketball three times this season, uncorked a leap of 6 feet, 1 inch at an early season meet. The mark was so good it would tie him for second in the final edition of the state bests.

But Queen continued to play soccer, until he left the team to compete in track regions instead of soccer regions.

"I felt really bad about that," Queen said. "I'm not going to high jump this year unless I can do both.

"I don't want to leave the soccer team like I did last year."

Even though Queen's life is filled with sports, he still finds time to achieve A's and B's in the classroom and participate in the National Honor Society.

"Right now, I'm looking at going into elementary education," said Queen, who is leaning toward attending college in Hawaii. "I've done stuff with kids before and I've really enjoyed that."

Last spring, Queen stayed in a cabin with eight boys from elementary schools at a program called Camp Keniski.

If Queen ends up in education, he will get to pass his love of sports on to his pupils just as Don, a 1966 graduate of Kenai Central High School who played basketball for the Kardinals, passed that same passion on to his son.

"The thing I really like to see is how much he enjoys playing sports," Don said. "I like to see he's playing for the enjoyment of it.

"That will help him down the road by keeping him involved and making sure he does something when he's gone. That's why it's important to enjoy sports of any kind."

But here's betting the sports Queen stays involved in will remain those with teammates.

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