Raymond Arke | News Editor
Hailing from a basketball-mad state and having attended one of the top training centers in the world, freshman forward and biomedical engineering major Nicholas Kratholm is looking to make an immediate impact on the Duquesne men’s basketball team this season.
Kratholm comes from Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in the middle of the classic University of Louisville/University of Kentucky rivalry, which influenced his sport of choice.
“Growing up in Kentucky, basketball, especially college basketball, is the biggest thing,” he said. “So from a young age, especially as a boy, you’re kind of taught that basketball is the way to go.”
The 6-foot-8 Kratholm was always tall growing up, which helped influence his decision to go with basketball over baseball in the fifth grade.
“I said, ‘Basketball is what I want to do,’” Kratholm said. “I’m tall, it helps to be tall. So I decided to focus all my energy on basketball.”
He pursued the sport at Waggener High School in St. Matthews, Kentucky, where he was also valedictorian. After he graduated, he decided to take a gap year at IMG Academy, a sports-orientated boarding school in Florida. It was an experience Kratholm called “phenomenal.”
“It’s a world-renowned sports training center for all athletes. When you go there and you’re training and you see these high-level players —the best of the best — coming in to work out … the experience and the exposure is incredible,” he said.
Kratholm also credited the coaches at IMG for helping improve his game.
“One of the biggest things I took away from there was the mental aspect of my game, focusing on mental conditioning and getting your mind right,” he said. “That’s one thing I really focused on there, … just to keep a calm head and block out distractions.”
His biggest inspiration for basketball is Kobe Bryant, especially because of his intense play style.
“It’s called the Mamba mentality, just to be in that attack mode and always have that drive. That’s what I try [to do], and obviously I’m no Kobe Bryant. But if I take pieces here and there and put it together, it can only help me,” he said.
While finishing his time at IMG, Kratholm was sold on coming to Duquesne after giving the Bluff a visit.
“The moment I saw [the Duquesne coaching staff] I thought these guys [were] great. Turned out [Duquesne] had biomedical engineering. It seemed too good to be true,” he said.
Duquesne’s biomedical engineering program is rather new and is as of a demanding major as they come, but Kratholm’s interest in the field dates back to when he was young.
“Ever since I was little, I loved building things, taking things apart,” he said.
In high school, Kratholm pursued a medical track that was offered, and he realized building prosthetic limbs was a future goal that combined his interests.
“That’s really something I want to do because I love building things and seeing how things work. Being able to help people would be so rewarding … To change someone’s life while doing something that you love at the same time [motivates me],” Kratholm said.
Biomedical engineering is definitely not easy, something that Kratholm knew going in.
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of tough classes. Math, science which is what I [like, prefer and want to take]. I tell people it’s hard but I brought it upon myself,” he said. “Every day, I know I’m working toward that goal of getting my degree.”
Very excited for the upcoming season, Kratholm is especially upbeat about Dambrot’s presence at Duquesne.
“We have a new coaching staff this year, and being a part of that, I think, is incredible. They’re really amazing people,” the forward remarked. “They want to win and they’re willing to do it all to push us to the next level.”
He also made a call to Duquesne students to come out and support the men’s team this year.
“Come see what’s new, come see what’s changed. It’s a new era, it’s a new time for the Duquesne Dukes. The only way to prove to people is they have to come see it,” he said. “I think we can really put on a show.”
Duquesne reigns in a new era on Saturday, Nov. 11, as Dambrot will coach his first game as the Dukes’ head coach when Duquesne takes on St. Francis NY at 5:30 p.m. at the A.J. Palumbo Center.