Up Close with Jayson Obazuaye

With the Buffs' win at Richmond Tuesday night, Colorado takes an 8-3 record into Saturday's conference opener at <A HREF=http://oklahoma.Scout.com>Oklahoma</A>. BSN spoke with CU guard <A HREF=[PlayerNode:1516052]>Jayson Obazuaye</A> recently about, among other things, what's ahead for the Buffs.

Junior Jayson Obazuaye found his way into the starting lineup midway through last season, his sophomore year. He picked up where he left off this season, and has been a key player for Colorado this season.

Buffalo Sports News: What's the difference between playing non-conference games and Big 12 basketball?
Jayson Obazuaye:
The Big 12 is one of the top conferences in the nation. Whenever you get a chance to play in the Big 12 – every team every night comes with it. The coaches, they really do their homework, as far as scouting. It's a little different also because in the preseason, you don't really know too much about the teams you're playing. Going into the Big 12 each year, you know the type of players the teams have.

BSN: What do you do as someone who's been through it a couple times to get the five or six new guys ready for Big 12 play?
JO:
We've been starting since they came in, since the spring and the summer, just telling them every day to go out and play everybody like it's a Kansas or Oklahoma State. Our maturity level has to be a lot better against a Big 12 team – that's what I tell them in the locker room.

BSN: When you came in as a freshman, you played a defensive role. Since the middle of last season and through now you've been aggressive taking it to the basket on offense, and you draw a lot of fouls. Do you have goals about getting to the foul line?
JO:
I'm just trying to attack my man. And if I can get by my man I can get to the bigger men and get them in foul trouble. We're down in big guys (with center Julius Ashby's injury), so if I can get some of the other big guys in foul trouble early, that's what I do — attack my man and attack the paint to try and change the game a little bit.

Our guard play has got to be superb. It has to start on defense; guarding our guys and not letting our big guys get in foul trouble. But we've got some young guys that are going to come along. Lamont Arrington and Marcus King-Stockton. I think they can get the job done.

BSN: Who's the best player you've ever gone up against?
JO:
Jarvis Hayes from Georgia last year. He's a real solid player. There's been a number of players who've been really good. Hollis Price, from Oklahoma, was really good.

BSN: What's the most challenging thing about playing basketball and being in school?
JO:
I'd have to say just being away from your family. I had a chance to go home this season and play against Cal (not far from hometown of San Jose). I had about 50 friends and family members there. I miss that a lot – being away from home. But you've got to be real mature to play at this level, to get your grades right and come out every day and practice.

BSN: What are you studying?
JO:
I'm a double-major in ethnic studies and sociology.

BSN: You mentioned family. What's the origin of your last name?
JO:
My dad's Nigerian.

BSN: Has he ever taken you there?
JO:
No, he hasn't taken me back. We have plans for when I graduate from college to go back.

BSN: Tell me something about Coach Ricardo Patton that people may not know.
JO:
We can tell that he really cares about his players — really sincerely. Sometimes it comes in a form that we really don't like. But deep down we know that he's really there for us. He works hard to get us the nicest things like other schools have. He really sticks his neck out there for us, and we try to do the same for him. That's why we go out and play


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