Feb. 9, 2005
Q: Your teammates and the coaching staff call you `Snake'. What is the story behind that nickname?
A: People started calling me snake because I have long arms and long legs. It's been my nickname since I was thirteen or fourteen.
Q: How has your game changed since being here?
A: I used to play point guard, but now I'm more off the ball. I had to learn how to find the ball instead of dominate it. I have to try to get open and use screens better. It's a totally different offense. I used to run set plays and here we run motion, so I'm a totally different player than I was in high school. But, I definitely feel more comfortable at the point and I would like to play the point some time.
Q: What do you need to work on most this year?
A: I need to work on being consistent. I have my games where I can have a good floor game. I want to feel good shooting and rebound still. I need to be more consistent so I can go out on the floor and do that every time.
Q: Obviously, the UConn win was huge for the team. What are your thoughts on the atmosphere generated by the UMass faithful?
A: That was the best home atmosphere I've ever played in. I've played on the road when it was like that. But, that was the first time I've ever experienced anything like that at home. It felt good. You can win more games with that type of crowd behind you, but you can't expect that type of crowd every game. It was a good feeling just to experience it, but it was even better to win in front of that crowd.
Q: What's the biggest thing you guys can take from the UConn game?
A: We know that when we are on our game it doesn't even matter what the other team is doing. We realize the importance of sticking to the game plan and sticking with each other regardless of what the score is and having faith and trust in each other.
Q: How much do the fans actually help?
A: You can't even measure it. They're important, but you still have to play when they're not there. Having them there gives you a little extra energy. But it does have a factor. They go hand in hand. We feed off them and when we do something good, they go crazy. Hopefully, more people from Amherst and the surrounding area who aren't students will come to the games now after hearing about or seeing the UConn game.
Q: Coach Lappas has talked a lot about the defense this year. What is the team doing differently in that area?
A: We're taking more pride in our own defense. Individually, we are taking more pride. We don't just want to stop the man that we're guarding, but also stop the man that one of our teammates is guarding if they need help.
Q: When you were being recruited to UMass did the history of the basketball program influence your decision at all?
A: I liked UMass a lot back then. A friend of mine used to always talk about Marcus Camby, Edgar Padilla, and Carmelo Travieso, so I was into it back then. Coach Lappas was more of what brought me here, but I definitely remember watching the days when Camby those guys used to play. I think on the inside that might've been a little bit of what brought me to UMass.
Q: You reopened your recruiting to talk with Indiana. What ultimately made you decide to stick with UMass?
A: I felt more comfortable with the program here. I talked to a couple of other schools other than Indiana. I just felt that UMass was the best place for me and for what I was trying to accomplish.
Q: How good do you think the Atlantic 10 is this year as a conference? How does the recent success that UMass and George Washington have had over ranked opponents help the conference?
A: I think the league will be good. It doesn't have as many strong teams as last year or the year before, but I think it will be very competitive. I think it will probably send two teams to the tournament. That shows the conference is not weak. I don't think Saint Joseph's and Xavier aren't going to be as strong this year.
Q: Who are you looking forward to playing this year?
A: I try to go game by game. Last year, I was waiting to play teams like UConn, Boston College and Tennessee and in the middle of that, I didn't have my best games. I want to play the best teams, but I really try now to focus on the team that's in front of us. That's the most important thing.