Question: What are you looking to get out of this summer, heading into the fall?
Matt Gatens: I am looking to improve a lot with my ball handling, and getting stronger and quicker on the court. I am working out a few times a week on quickness and strength, which I hope pays off this fall and winter. And I will always keep working on my shot. Plus, this league and the pick up games helps us get acclimated to each other on and off the court.
Question: How is that acclimation process going?
Gatens: It's going real well. We have a great group of guys, and everyone wanted to be a Hawkeye. We have the same goal, and that is to win games. We have a lot of new faces, but we have a strong core of players coming back that have experience. Throw in the new guys and it's a good mix.
Question: What are some of the strengths of the ‘new guys' that you have seen?
Gatens: I think the basketball IQ is pretty high. Everyone seems to be real smart out there and they know how to play game. We play together and no one is out there being selfish, just looking to make his own shot. Even in pick up games, it's a team effort. And that spreads over into the off the court times, hanging around together. It's been a real joy to get to know these guys and I look forward to working with them the rest of my career
Question: Is the off the court stuff just as important as the chemistry on the court?
Gatens: I think so because that carries over. If we are getting along well off the court, we will get along well and play better together on the court. Then we will all be working together for the same goal; to win games.
Question: The previous three years at Iowa City High, you guys didn't get to where you wanted to go, then last year, you just had that chemistry.
Gatens: At City, we had a special group; we hung out on and off the court, all of the time. I miss it quite a bit; I cant even explain how much I miss playing and hanging out with them.
Question: You guys basically have seven new guys this year, and six coming back. That is uncommon.
Gatens: When you put (Jarryd) Cole in there, that is seven new guys, if you looked at it like that.. He played in 8 games last year, so in some ways he is like a fresh face. Most teams bring in three or four new guys. It will take time and practice to get acclimated, but we are doing that this summer in class, in workouts and getting that core connection.
Question: How competitive does it make it when there is no clear cut starting five returning, and a lot of minutes are there to be had?
Gatens: Very competitive, but it doesn't matter who is starting. We will just play to win and let the coaches decide on who starts and who plays how much. The coaches will do a great job with that.
Question: Does it seem like an eternity has passed since you committed to
Gatens: I don't even remember when I committed, it's been so long. It's shocking that it's here. I am taking summer college courses, so that is hitting me that it's here. I guess it's been like four years since I committed to