WildcatAuthority: You have gone to camps like the Nike Basketball Academy before. What are your goals when you come to these things?
Tarczewski: First and foremost to represent the University of Arizona to the best of my ability. Second is to learn from the best in the game.
We have great coaches and playing against great players every day, so it is an opportunity for me to work on my game in the off-season to become a better basketball player for next season.
Also to help the younger guys. I did camps like this when I was coming up and playing against the college guys and watching them play really helped me out in my game.
WA: What are you thinking when you see DeMarcus Cousins across from you?
Tarczewski: It was crazy. It is funny, you always see those guys on T.V. playing and you try not to get starstruck when you see them in person, but it is awesome to be able to play against them.
WA: You watch the draft and two guys get drafted and the other two don't. Obviously very different situations, but what goes through your head?
Tarczewski: I am so happy for all four of them. They became like my family to me at Arizona and they made the decision to leave. Stanley and Rondae got picked in the first round and that’s everyone’s dream. For them to make that happen really shows how good of basketball players they are.
For T.J. and Brandon, I have been through the grind with them every day. I know how hard they work and how good of basketball players they are. Even if they didn’t get picked at the draft I know they will get picked up by a team just because of the type of people they are and type of work ethic they have.
WA: That brings me to your decision to come back. How hard was it and what went into it?
Tarczewski: It was definitely a hard decision. It took me a long time and the one thing I wanted was for the decision to be mine. I didn’t want anyone to influence my decision, so I kind of took a step back. I tried to relax for a few days after a long season and then I really got to work and I was thinking about it and talking with people I trusted.
From all of the information I acquired I thought it was in my best interest to come back. It is funny because I was sitting on the plane on the way home from the Elite 8 game and we were flying over Tucson and I saw the lights and I thought ‘This is like my home. What am I going to do if I’m not here? What does the future hold?’
It was a sick to my stomach type of feeling and it made me really anxious. I am just so happy that I get to come back and be on another great team surrounded by great coaches and great coaches.
WA: Do you naturally become the leader now?
Tarczewski: I hope so. That’s the goal. It is kind of crazy because for the first time this is like a new team, there are new faces. There’s not the guys I came in with that I have known for a long time and know how they play. This is going to be a very interesting years for everyone, for the coaches, for the players, everyone is going to have to buy in to what Coach Miller does.
We’re going to have to play our best basketball. We’re probably going to end up flying under the radar for a while. For the first time I don’t know what our pre-season ranking is and I don’t really care. We’re just trying to become the best basketball team that we can by the end and I am really excited.
WA: This will be different.
Tarczewski: We’re going to have to really buy in as a team in order to win games and I think that is something really special. Anyone with a lot of talent can win games just off talent, but I think this is an opportunity for us to really become a family out there and become connected and just go out there and have fun together.
WA: Dusan Ristic is expected to make a big jump from last season. Thoughts on his summer so far?
Tarczewski: I have been out there all summer. He went home for pre-session, so he got to see his family a bit, which is always nice. He is doing a great job.
He is really trying to work on his body and work on his athleticism and then work on his game. He has always been a really skilled player. It is going to be interesting to see maybe him and I out there, maybe some twin tower action. We will see what happens, but I am excited.
Everyone that is coming back is really ready. Nobody has seen Ryan play, nobody has seen Kadeem play. They are two great basketball players that are really going to help our team. Allonzo was there and he has been unbelievable. Everybody is trying to get better.
WA: It's not only new players, but there's a new coach as well in Mark Phelps
Tarczewski: He is the best. It is a disappointment to lose Coach Stoudamire, he was a driving force behind the success of our last two teams. It is nice to see a new face in there. Coach Phelps is a hard worker and he loves being out there on the court with guys, trying to make people better. We are really blessed to have him here.
WA: What's your schedule the rest of the summer?
Tarczewski: I am in my fourth class right now. I took two in pre-session and two in Summer I. Then I go to the USA Pan American games and try out. If I make it, I will be there for three weeks and then when I get back have three or four days off and head out to Los Angeles for Adidas Nations.
I might get a week or two off before schools starts up, but it is a blessing to be able to be invited to such prestigious events.
WA: Do you feel any pressure knowing that this is your last season?
Tarczewski: I am working. I have one last chance to make it, so this summer is about working hard and trying to get better out there on the court. I haven’t been in the position before, but we look at every season as my last year.
I think it is definitely a driving force behind my work ethic and the time I have been putting out on the court. It really makes putting in that extras effort a lot easier. I’m excited. Coming back to Arizona is not a disappointment, it is what I thought was best for me.