Junior College All American Oliver Lafayette

"Mississippi State, Kansas State, Wyoming, there were a lot of colleges recruiting me. I came to Houston because it was close to home and I feel real comfortable here." - Oliver Lafayette

Oliver is coming to Houston after a stellar season at Brown Mackie Junior College posting over 17 points, 4.4 assist and 4.4 steals per game while leading his team to the DII Junior College National Championship. He was named the nation's player of the year for his division and will be looking to bring his experience and wining attitude to the Houston program for the next two seasons.

RS - First of all, tell us where you are from and when you started playing basketball.
OL - I am from Baton Rouge and started playing basketball when I was about seven years old.

RS - What is your current height and weight, and have you tested your vertical recently?
OL - My height is 6'2 and weight 173. We tested my vertical at 31.5

RS - Please tell us where you went to JC and why you decided to go there.
OL - I went to Brown Mackie JC and went there because Kansas told me to go there. I was told going there would help me learn get my name out there.

RS - Has there been any influential people who have helped you develop your game?
OL - My AAU coaches and my dad have really helped me.

RS - Do you have any rOL - e models who you pattern your game after?
OL - Well, everybody's role model is Michael Jordan, but I just want to know when to shoot the ball and when to pass it while I am on the court.

RS - What is your most memorable moment as a player?
OL - Winning the National Championship this past year.

RS - When was your first contact with the University of Houston staff and tell us some about your visit to the campus?
OL - My visit to the campus was good; we have a nice campus and great environment. I know they had been to the Final Four plenty of times but haven't been in about 20 years. I want to help change that tradition.

RS - What other schools recruited you and why did you decide to attend the University of Houston?
OL - Mississippi State, Kansas State, Wyoming, there were a lot of colleges recruiting me. I came to Houston because it was close to home and I feel real comfortable here.

RS - What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the University of Houston?
OL - Hard work and a lot of running.

RS - What do you know about Tom Penders' style of ball and what are your impressions of his system?
OL - He likes get up and down the court and play defense, He doesn't want us to pass up shots.

RS - Now that you have had a chance to play with your teammates what are your thoughts about the team?
OL - They're good. We have good coaches, good guard play, and good big men to catch the ball. It's a lot better than what I thought I was coming to.

RS - Is there anyone particular who has impressed you with his leadership or abilities?
OL - Really, everyone. All the guys have been helping me learn how to play in the system.

RS - Compare your workouts now to what you have been accustomed to in junior college.
OL - It is a lot harder. There is a lot more running, more shooting and every thing.

RS - What are your thoughts on the coaching staff thus far?
OL - They are real good. Very strict, but good.

RS - What are your strengths and what attributes will you bring to the team this year?
OL - My strength is my three-ball and I will bring defense, score and make good decisions on the court.

RS - In what areas do you feel you still need to work on the most before the start of the season?
OL - I still need to work on my help defense and not turning my back to the goal.

RS - What are your individual goals and expectations as a team this year?
OL - My individual goals are basically to just win basketball games. I don't have my mindset on how many points I score, but just wining games.

RS - Do you know much about Phi Slama Jama and the other greats who have played here before you?
OL - Yes I am familiar with Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Young.

RS - What do you plan on studying and what are your ambitions following school?
OL - I plan on getting my degree in Sociology and haven't really decided what I am going to do after school.

RS - Do you ever read CoogFans.com
OL - I read it once in a while.

RS - Are there any last words you would like to say to all the Cougar fans out there?
OL - We need you to support the program, not just the basketball team but come out and see the football, volleyball, softball and the whole nine yards.

Thanks Oliver, it was a pleasure meeting you. It is easy to feel the enthusiasm you have for being a Houston Cougar and your anticipation for bringing great things back to the university.


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