1) Your father has been on the Hawks coaching staff for quite some
time. Was this the main factor in your decision to attend
Were there any other schools you considered attending?
My recruiting process was probably a lot different from that of other
players, being that my father is a Division 1 coach. I think from the
outset, a lot of people had the notion that me attending Monmouth was
a given. After taking some unofficial visits and looking around, the
schools I was most serious about were Monmouth, University of New
Hampshire, Princeton, and Boston University. In the end, the
opportunity to stay close to my family and friends, and play for my
father was hard to pass up. This was a major contributing factor in
my decision to attend Monmouth.
2) You seemed to excel at every single statistic this past season,
from scoring and rebounding, to shooting 3's and steals. Is there any
one aspect of the game you have focused on during the off-season to
take your game to the next level?
Coming out of high school, I was pretty much labeled as a shooter,
which kind of upset me. Since then, I have really tried to pride
myself on being a complete player. I think this past off season and
summer, I've really worked hard on stepping up my play consistently on
the defensive end, and being able to create my own shot off the
dribble on a regular basis.
3) Congrats on being named to the Verizon Academic District-2 team for
the 2001-2 season. Do you pride yourself on academic achievement?
Academics is something I have always taken a lot of pride in. My
parents have always stressed to me the importance of being a well
rounded person, and that is an accomplishment that has really been
rewarding to both myself and my family. Balancing athletics and
academics, while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life
isn't always easy, but so far I have coped pretty well.
4) Last year's leading scorer, Rashaan Johnson, just finished his
senior year with the Hawks. This may make sound selfish, but do you
feel that you're going to need to pick up the scoring slack for next
year's squad to be successful?
Trying to alleviate the pain of Rashaan's graduation is by no means
going to be an easy task. I don't think it is going by something that
myself, or any one player will try to do, but rather will be a
collective effort as a team. I am just going to go out there and play
hard and try to help my team win first and foremost. Any individual
achievements are just an added bonus. I think if we stay focused and
play together, we are going to surprise a lot of people.
5) Is there any one game you consider your personal best so far in
college? Was it your 22 and 9 boards in a win over LIU, or was there
an even better game that may not have showed up in the stats book?
Off the top of my head, there isn't any one game where I was most
happy with my personal performance. It is personally rewarding any
time you can go out and help your team win a basketball game. The NEC
Championship game my freshmen year is something I will never ever
forget, and beating Vanderbilt, an SEC team this season, was quite an
accomplishment for us all.
6) Monmouth has become a consistent power in the NEC and despite
losing three senior starters, the team returns a lot of youthful
experience. Has the team set any specific goals for the new season,
such as winning the conference?
We are all very excited and optimistic about our chances next season.
We will surely miss the 3 seniors, but our mix of returning players
and newcomers will give us an opportunity to be a very good basketball
team. Winning an NEC Championship and going back to the NCAA tourney
is definitely our team's main goal.
7) Do you know anything about the team's newest additions, recruits
Tyler Azzarelli (Tampa, FL) and Chris Kenney (Lincroft, NJ), as well
as transfer Pat Deveny from Drexel? Will any of these guys be major
contributors this year?
Chris was a teammate of mine at CBA so I'm very familiar with him and
he's a good friend. I am really looking forward to playing with Chris
again the next few seasons. Tyler is also a very promising young
player, who we are looking forward to have on our team. Pat practiced
with us this season, and he is going to be a force inside in the NEC,
once he is eligible. All of these guys should be able to come in and
help contribute to a successful season.
8) College Basketball is often divided in two categories: Majors vs.
Mid-Majors. Do you think the talent gap between conferences like the
NEC and the so-called Majors is shrinking?
The gap between the majors and mid majors is definitely shrinking in
college basketball. Now that players are leaving early and going at
such young ages to the pros, there is much more parity. Mid-major
schools such as Gonzaga really pride themselves on player development
and really developing the players that they got. That is something we
are trying to do here at Monmouth.
9) Is there anything special you'd like to tell Monmouth fans, or
other hoops fans from around the country?
Monmouth is a program on the rise, and we are very excited for the
upcoming basketball season. We appreciate all of our fan support and
everyone that travels to our games. Come out to Boylan Gym this
season and see us play....