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SLU Billikens - Ross Varner





NCAA Interviews

by Shawn Siegel (responses are copied directly from e-mail text)


Ross Varner is a 6-7 Junior out of Holladay, Utah. The scoring forward played a year at Pepperdine before transfering to SLU, where he averaged  4 points and 3 rebounds per game for the Billikens.


1)Last year you guys played some of your tougher non-conference games at home (SIU, Mizzou, Washington). This season, however, you face some challening road foes before conference play starts (Arizona, Butler, St. Bonaventure), as well as home match-ups with Dayton & SIU. Was there a concscious effort by the program to step up the schedule? Do you think this will help the team in the long run?

Saint Louis University is constantly trying to improve and so are we as
a team.  As we strive to take this team and program to the next level we must be able to compete with against tougher and tougher opponents.  This year we do have some challenging road opponents and as well as some tough home games as well as an already tough conference schedule.  In playing these games against some good quality teams we will have the opportunity to prepare not only for conference, but also for the post season, which is the goal of every team.   I really do think that our team will be better as a result of this tougher schedule and we will be able to achieve the goals which we have set for this program.

2)What can you tell us about your relationship with Coach Soderberg? What type of style and attitude does he bring to the head coaching position?

Coach Soderberg is an great coach, but even a better person.  He really has the respect of the whole team.  He is a man of integrity and has a lot of passion for the game.  His passion is contagious and it is being passed on to the whole team.  Coach has set some high goals for us as a team, but he doesn't set goals just to set them.  He sets goals to achieve them.  He has shown his confidence in us and our abilities by setting those high goals

3)Tell us about the trip to Spain & France the team made over summer. I know you're there to practice basketball, but it still must be pretty fun & exciting for the team.

The trip to Spain and France was a lot of fun.  We had the great
opportunity to begin to learn the new system of Coach Soderberg and also see some great sites.  Another advantage from this trip is that I feel we grew closer as a team. To make sure we took full advantage of the opportunity Coach was always telling us to play as hard as we could on the court, but as soon as we were off of it to enjoy the scenery and sites.  That way we were able to see as much as we wanted, but also learn a lot about our new system.

4)You transfered to St. Louis after your Mormon Mission to Latvia and a year of basketball at Pepperdine. What led you to transfer to SLU? Have you been satisfied with the results?


I transferred to SLU based on the relationship I had with the previous
coach, Lorenzo Romar, who coached me while I was at Pepperdine.  I am very pleased with the change.  The education that I am receiving is great and the level of basketball is also superb.  I really feel blessed to have had the opportunities that I have had here at SLU.

5)I noticed on your bio it says you learnt Latvian sign-language on your mission. Thats a skill that not too many people can claim to have. Kidding aside, you've also had a quality academic career (last year's Billikens Scholar Athlete). Is acadmic success something you pride yourself on? What are your plans after college?

As you pointed out, I was the Scholar Athlete last year for our team.  I
really enjoy learning.  That is the second best thing about playing college basketball, is the free education.  That is especially true here at SLU.  Saint Louis University is a great university and I feel I need to take advantage of my time here.  Right now I have a double major- International Business and also Russian.  I am not quite sure what I am going to do exactly with those degrees, but I know that it will be something in business.  I am also condsidering going to grad school once basketball is all over and that might lead me down some different paths.

6)Last year, you were a consistent contributor off the bench for Coach Romar. How do you plan on increasing your role this year? I noticed your FG% dipped greatly(.492 to .402) from your first season with the Wave. Was this just a product of not playing D1 basketball in the interim?

Last year my shooting percentage did take a bit of a drop over the
course of the year and I really can not pin down one reason or another
exactly why, but the main point is that it did.  This has been a great
summer for me because it has been my first offseason of  my career because of my mission and what not.  I really have been putting in a lot of work on my game and especially my shot so that my percentage will not take any severe dips this season, but that it should be quite consistent.  I like the new offense that Coach Soderberg has brought with him and I feel it will benefit my game and what I bring to the table.  It should be a really fun year and I am looking forward to it.

7)I know its hard to say, but if everything goes well, what are the realistic maximum expectations for this year's team?


I really think that we have what it takes to be a real good team this
year, even one of the top teams in Conference USA.  We have been working hard as a team and with the help of our coaching staff nothing except ourselves should hold us back.  We honestly believe that we can be in the field of 64 in March and that is what we strive for everyday as we take the court.


I'd like to thank Ross for taking the time to answer our questions.  The whole Collegehoopsnet team wishes him the best of luck during the new season.





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