Big East Media Day with Sammy Mejia's Dan Stack sat down with DePaul senior guard Sammy Mejia at Big East Media Day in New York City recently to give us this story. Sammy had plenty to say about the coming season, about the new Blue Demons freshman, Jerry Wainwright's practices, the toughness of the schedule, and returning to the NCAA tournament.

This is the last stand for DePaul Blue Demons senior Sammy Mejia. For Mejia, along with fellow seniors Marcus Heard and Lorenzo Thompson, this is the last chance for them to taste what they once tasted and never tasted again, and that is an NCAA Tournament berth. Mejia would of course love to go back.

"Every college player wants to make it to the NCAA Tournament, especially your last year," Mejia said. "The experience is uncomparable. That's something that every college player would love. Not only begin their career going to the tournament, but finishing there as well."

For the time being, Mejia is blocking it all out and just focusing on his game and getting better as a team. "I don't worry about the other stuff that people try to focus on. I still have a whole season ahead of me and I just try to concentrate on that and do whatever it takes to win as many games as we can."

Because it is Mejia's senior year, many people will look to him as a leader. For Mejia, that is something he is comfortable with. "I've been on a leader role pretty much since I got here, freshman year playing the point guard and ever since. It's nothing new. I'm just excited about the season," Mejia proclaimed.

Ever since the completion of the 2005-06 season Mejia has been working on his complete game. "I try to work on my overall game," Mejia remarked. "I don't like to concentrate on one thing in particular. I feel like if you concentrate too hard on one thing you might slip up on other things, so I just try to work on everything."

When you discuss Mejia's game, often brought up is his versatility and good all around numbers. And for good reason, he is coming off a season in which he averaged 15.1 ppg, 4 rpg, and 2.5 apg. However, it is his defense in which he takes pride in.

"Just the challenge," Mejia replied on why his defense has improved. "Ever since coach (Jerry) Wainwright got here, he always told me he never wanted me to be just an offensive player. He wanted me to be one of the leading scorers and at the same time guard the best guy who is on the other team."

Mejia thinks highly of this team and he has been impressed with practice so far. "Practice is really intense, which is what we expected," Mejia commented. "The guys have done a great job of coming in, gelling together, and everybody's playing confident. We're excited about the opportunity we have to prove ourselves to a lot of people."

Of those players that impressed Mejia in practice have been freshmen Will Walker and Thijin Moses. Mejia is optimistic about their abilities but is being cautious knowing they are only freshmen. "Just to contribute as much they can," Mejia said when asked what we can expect from the freshmen. "We try not to put too much pressure on them. We just tell them to do what they do. Whatever it is that got them to the school, to continue doing that. We support them and we give them confidence, and hopefully they'll be able to produce for us some this year."

As in his defensive game, Mejia loves challenges. That is why Mejia doesn't mind that Wainwright has scheduled another brutal slate of games. "It's tough. Just as last year's was," Mejia remarked. "I'm sure it's going to compare with one of the toughest in the country. That says a lot about what coach thinks about us. He's confident in us and feels that we're ready to compete against the best teams in the country."

Mejia knows this his last chance at the NCAA tournament but he is very confident he can get back. "I think we're hungry and we're ready. We're confident in each other and we feel like we're prepared well enough to compete in this conference," Mejia said convingly.

For DePaul to get back to the NCAA tournament, they will need Mejia to be on top of his game and it sure seems Mejia is up to the task.

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