Jeff Peterson Q&A

How one deals with the press is not always an indicator on how one will deal with a three-quarter court trap. But if Iowa freshman point guard Jeff Peterson handles the latter as well as he does the former, Hawkeye fans are in for a real treat.

Q: Are you ready to get out there against someone else?

Jeff Peterson: Yeah, I am excited. The intrasquad scrimmage was fun, but it will be better when we compete against another team. The whole atmosphere, and we get to compete with one another instead of against each other and beat up on some other guys.

Q: Do you have an idea of how the minutes will break out?

Peterson: No idea. If I had to guess, Coach Lickliter will play the people who play defense and who do not turn the ball over. It's everyone writes their own slate in practice and whoever does those things will get a lot of time.

Q: How have you been in those areas?

Peterson: I think I have done pretty good. I can improve. Defense can always improve and as far as turning the ball over, that is a mindset of toughness. Coach Lickliter always speaks about toughness, which is doing what you want to do when you want to do it. If you want to take care of the ball, you are going to do it. No ifs ands or buts.

Q: Kurt Looby and some others have said that you are not afraid to speak your mind, even to the veterans.

Peterson: It is a mindset. I think it starts from my childhood. My parents have told me to be a leader, never a follower. I take that. When I see that those guys respect me and when I do tell them things they don't take it in a bad way, not that I am just a freshman or that I am insulting them. They are open to different comments that I have. The same goes from them to me. There is a lot that I can learn, too. They have been in this league and played Division I basketball more than I have. Personally, it's something you have to do as a point guard. Coach looks for us to be the quarterback, the general of the team. You have to be a leader vocally and lead by actions as well.

Q: Do you have any buddies of yours in big time college hoops?

Peterson: Definitely. Dray Grant at Clemson, Austin Freeman at Georgetown, Isaiah Tate at George Mason…

Q: What do they tell you about D1?

Peterson: The guys that are already there say the difference is the speed of the game. It's faster and people are stronger. All of those guys come from DeMatha, we have all been taught the same thing. We understand the game pretty well. They say that everyone is equal at this level. Talent wise, everyone is equal. So what separates the other people, conditioning is a big factor as well as toughness and knowing how to play the game.

Q: How would you rate this team on those two factors?

Peterson: Conditioning wise, I think we are pretty good. Toughness, we can improve a lot. When we do, I know that we are going to, we will be very good. With that and our defense, that can also improve. When it does, I think we are going to be very good. Everyone on the team including the coaching staff is dedicated in taking part in doing that.

Q: Can it be a matter of thinking too much to try to nail down the system?

Peterson: Yeah, sometimes. It's a new system, everyone wants to please coach. Sometimes, I even do it, trying to think so much to do the right thing, that one thing when I forget to do other things. Basketball, it takes a lot of things to get the job done. If you concentrate on one thing it will not be good enough to win the game. Even just that possession, win the possession. You have to be able to do all of those things at once. Not just on offense, defense as well; just some guys, including me, we just know that we are concentrating on that one thing and we need to do all the things to get the job done.

Q: Is this a good fit for you? A new coach, positions up for grabs, leadership up for grabs?

Peterson: It's a very good fit. It's unique. Everything happens for a reason. I am fortunate to play for Coach Lickliter. I never got a chance to play for Coach Alford, and in my mind he is a great guy. But Coach Lickliter has done great and I love the system. A lot of it is just that everyone is dedicated. They want to win, and that is how I am. Everything fits together.

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