Discussion with Amherst's
1) Your team ran to the Elite Eight this season before falling to
Williams College. That game was close at half-time but Williams ended
up winning comfortably. Were you satisfied with your personal
performance that game? Do you think the fact they were able to hold
ECAC Player of the Year Steve Zieja to only 6 points was a big reason
for their win?
I was not satisfied with my personal performance in the last Williams
game. I feel that I could have done more for my team. Initially, I
was trying to let the game come to me without pressing the issue, but
in retrospect I feel like I could have been more assertive on the
offensive end of the court. I was able to get to the free throw
line, but I was never able to get into a good rhythm. Williams did a
good job limiting Steve [Zieja] and my shot opportunities. Some
credit has to be given to Williams, but in a game of that magnitude
there is no excuse for Steve and I to be a combined 3-8 from the
2) Williams is also a member of the NESCAC. Did this add to the hurt
of the loss, or did it make you happy that your league was succeeding
on a national level? Would you say there your biggest rivals?
They are definitely are biggest rivals and the Amherst/Williams
rivalry is one of the great rivalries in college sports today. It is
always a little tougher to lose to Williams and the fact that it was
an Elite 8 game made it that much more painful. As far as their
success after defeating us, that does not make the loss any more
painful. I was happy to see Williams go on and win the national
championship because it should help the NESCAC and our region get the
respect that we deserve.
3) You had to beat a strong Rochester team to get to the Elite Eight.
I happened to catch a few of Rochesterís games this year, and was
extremely impressed by forward Seth Hauben, who seems to play huge in
big games. Was he the focal point of your defense? Were you
impressed by his play at all?
The Rochester game was very tough, they were probably the most
physical team that we played against all year. I was impressed by all
of their big guys, but Hauben had an unbelievable game. Hauben and the
others played very hard and physical all game long. We went into the
game knowing that they were very strong and that their big guys were
excellent at creating and holding their position on the blocks so we
just made a concerted effort to play extra hard on the defensive end,
especially on the inside. Our center Pat Fitzsimons, who I think
outplayed Hauben in that game, and Zieja did a great job limiting the
overall effectiveness of their frontcourt.
4) Last year, you accumulated 101 steals, which is quite impressive.
Plus you had two games of over 10 steals early in the year (11 vs.
Westchester Poly & 10 vs. Salve Regina.) Do you pride yourself on
being active on defense? Think you can top 101 next season?
I definitely pride myself on being a good defensive player. I have
always been taught that the best way to get into the flow of a game is
on the defensive end of the court because that is solely based on
whether you are ready to play or not. There is no excuse for not
playing hard on the defensive end. Of course scoring is what every
player enjoys the most, but my dad used to tell me that "if you give
up 20, then scoring 20 doesn't mean anything." It would be nice top
101 next season, but it will be tough because towards the end of the
season teams started entering their offense going away from me and I
will probably see more of that. As long as I make a noticeable
impact on the defensive end of the floor then I will be happy.
However, I do look forward to the challenge of getting more than 101
5) Last season, assistant coach Luke Flockerzi was named the AFLAC
National Assistant Coach of the Year. What can you tell us about
Luke, and why he was deserving for such an award?
Luke has been a great addition to our program over the last 2 years.
Luke is very helpful because he is very good at picking up other
teams tendencies during the course of a game allowing us to make
necessary adjustments and also he is available to give us a lot of
individual work. During regular practice hours we can only do so
much, but Luke helps us work on the areas of our game that we or the
coaches feel need improvement. Coach Hixon, Coach Beulow, and Coach
Harp are all great coaches, but it definitely helps to have someone
who is fresh out of the game and right out of college to talk to and
bridge that generation gap that presents itself every once in a while.
6) What led you to choose to attend Amherst to begin with?
I liked my initial visit to Amherst and I had always told myself that
if I were going to go to a division 3 school then it was going to be
Amherst. However, I never really thought that I was going to go to a
D3 school. Like most of the kids that I grew up playing with on
weekends and in AAU, I wanted to go to a D1 school. I had a number
of D1 options, but none could match the academic reputation of
Amherst. Moreover, I felt that those few that had comparable
academic standing did not have as good basketball as Amherst. It came
down to a question that my parents posed to me, they asked: "If you
were to get hurt and not be able to play basketball, where would you
want your degree to be from?" My answer was Amherst. I think Amherst
is the right place for me and I am very happy with my decision.