Clemson Athletic Communications Student Assistant Brooke Skelley spoke with junior outfielder Steven Duggar about the 2015 season.
Q: Before the season, you were named to the watch list for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. How does this opportunity make you feel about yourself and all the hard work that you have put into the sport?
Duggar: It is definitely nice any time that you can get recognition for your hard work. It makes you feel good about yourself, what you do and what you have done. To be honest with you, I would not be in this position without my teammates, friends, family and coaches. Those people have helped me succeed in the past on and off the field, and they will be with me with whatever happens in the future. Those people definitely get the award for that.
Q: How do you keep yourself focused during a game?
Duggar: Honestly, it is not hard. You just enjoy it and have fun. This is a child’s game and we are lucky to be able to play it. Not a lot of people are lucky enough to play college baseball. It is an honor to come out here and put the uniform on every day and play, but at the same time you want to go out and win. Staying focused is not a big deal. It is just going out there, trusting your coaches and having fun.
Q: You have started every game at Clemson. Is there one in particular that stands out among the rest?
Duggar: There are a few. One would definitely have to be opening day my freshman year. Coming here as a freshman fighting for a spot and getting the opportunity to play right away is not something that everyone gets to do. It was definitely nerve-wracking at the time, but definitely a good experience for me. That and the Boston College game last year, when we came back and won the game in the 10th inning.
Q: You have been named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll the past two years. How do you balance time between baseball and academics?
Duggar: It is tough. We have some resources around here that we can use. My mom has always been hard on me about grades, so I have always had to make sure to stay on top of them. You get done with baseball, knock out whatever you have to when you get home and then wake up the next day and do it all over again.
Q: How do you plan to maintain your impressive prospect ranking for the 2015 MLB draft over this season?
Duggar: I am not really worried about all that. I am just worried about winning games and having a good year with my teammates.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Duggar: I would have to say my mom. I actually lost my father when I was 10, so she has kind of played the role of mom and dad. I have been able to see her strength and her will to succeed in whatever she does. This has rubbed off on my sisters and me as well. She is definitely my inspiration.
Q: You are a team co-captain this season. How does this leadership role affect the way you approach practices and games?
Duggar: It is definitely exciting any time you have coaches and teammates who believe that you are a leader. It is an opportunity that not many people get to experience, whether in school or any other work position. I want to be able to lead by example. I want to take the younger guys under my wing and let them know what to expect. I am honored to be able to do that.
Q: Players prepare to play in different ways. Do you have any pregame rituals in particular?
Duggar: Not really. I just show up to the field, eat something and sit there and try to visualize what I am going to do that day. I try to throw out some positivity throughout the rest of my team as well.
Q: Off the field, what do you do when you find a day of free time?
Duggar: We hang out at the house and go to dinner. We try to rest up for the next day.
Q: What’s been the most challenging part of being a student-athlete at Clemson?
Duggar: I think balancing between academics and athletics. I think a lot of guys get caught up in the athletic part of it and forget about the academic aspect of it, and that is where you can get in trouble.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned since being a part of the Clemson baseball program?
Duggar: There have been a lot. If I had to single one out, I would say hard work. It is definitely challenging every day being able to show up, on top of academics and everything else.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a younger teammate, what would it be?
Duggar: I would say enjoy your time while you are here and play every game like it is your last. It seems like just yesterday I was a freshman rolling in here and not knowing what to expect. Now, all of a sudden I am a junior. Time definitely flies but I would say to enjoy every single day and go out and play like it is your last.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect to your position as a right fielder?
Duggar: This is a tough question, because honestly I feel alright out there. Honestly, I feel like it is just a matter of knowing where to go and what to do in certain situations. I think some people get caught up in not really knowing what to do with the ball or where to be. Defensively, it is just a matter of being on your toes and being ready to go when the ball comes your way.
Q: What is one thing that not many people know about you?
Duggar: I hate heights. I am fine if I am standing on top of something, but if I am rock climbing or something like that, I am not a fan.
Q: What is your favorite way to communicate with your fans?
Duggar: I am on social media, but I also like to talk to our fans in person. If after a game, family or somebody wants to come up and ask for an autograph, I love to sit there and talk to them. I think any time they come out and show support, it means a great deal to this university and this program. I like to be personable, but at the same time, I am on social media, too.
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