How is the offseason going for you?
Not too bad. I'm just weightlifting and working on things. I'm just getting back into basketball shape.
Are you in the group of players on the new diet and exercise routine?
I'm getting there. I'm working on it, more so than I was last year.
Where were you last year and where are you now?
Last year I was just coming in and learning the game. I had to adjust pretty quickly. This year I know what's to be expected. I'm working more on what I need to be working on rather than not knowing what I need to be working on.
What did you play at weight wise last year, and where are you now?
I played at about 240, 245. I'm at 250 now.
So, you're trying to add weight?
Yeah. It was a good five pounds though. It wasn't a McDonald's five.
What have you been working on in terms of your basketball skills?
I've been hitting it real hard on the post moves. I'm working on foot speed in the post and learning to get around the defender quicker and being able to hold them off. I'm trying to be stronger inside. The Big Ten has got a lot of big bodies, so you have to be strong and quick. My offensive moves are coming along as well.
Do you have a favorite one yet?
Probably a right-handed jump hook. I also like the baseline mid-post shot. I've been working on that. I can drive and kick off of that.
How much does it help being able to work against a shot blocker like Erek every day?
Anything you put up is always contested. You have to find some way to get away from him or go into him and draw a foul. That's about all you can do.
How do you improve foot speed?
A lot of plyometrics. It shows how fast you can go from start to finish; how fast you can get off of the ground; how fast you can get around somebody. I've been doing a lot of that.
What was the biggest adjustment for you in your first year of college ball?
Honestly, I would have to say it was the speed of the game. I came in here thinking, "Oh, it's a summer league game. It should be like high school." I found out that it was a lot like college.
How did you deal with the length of the college season?
It did. I got caught up probably close to tournament when we were playing three games in three days. That caught up with me when I was trying to manage all of that with school. It was tough. I got through it somehow.
What are your expectations this year for you?
I just want to be able to contribute to the team as much as I can. I don't put too much on myself right now. I have to work on what I need to do and what the coaches want me to do. I'm going to keep working for next year and hopefully have a bigger role.
What do you feel your role will be this year?
I'll be relief guy for Erek or maybe some four. If I start playing well while I'm in there, I hope I get to stay in and keep playing.
How is you defense coming along?
(Laughs) It's tough. It's tough to learn and tough to grasp a hold of. Once you do, it helps. For me, I'm learning how to defend a guy in the post. What to look for; what not to look for as far as moves. Is he a shooter? Is he a driver with a big body?