Edgar Sosa from the locker room

Junior guard Edgar Sosa has faced a lot of criticism in his two-plus years at the University of Louisville, but Sunday he silenced his critics (for now at least) with a last-second three-pointer to beat archrival Kentucky 74-71. Sosa went in-depth with InsideTheVille.com in the locker room after the game.

Sosa scored a season-high 18 points against the Wildcats, making 4 of 7 shots, including 2 of 4 from three-point range. He also hit 8 of 9 free throws. Not too bad for a guy who has played sparingly in the previous two games. But Sosa went from zero (points in six minutes against UAB on Dec. 27) to hero against UK.

In his post-game press conference UofL coach Rick Pitino said that as recently as last week he had talked to Sosa about transferring. Here is what Sosa had to say about his last-second shot and his recent meeting with Pitino.

Q: What happened on the last shot?

A: "I talked to Coach P as I was bringing up the ball and Coach P was like, 'Sosa one shot, one shot,' and I'm like I've got to go at six seconds in order not to give Kentucky an attempt. So Will (Scott) comes to set the pick and roll and I'm like, 'Will,' waving my hand, 'no, no, they're going to to a switch.' So I'm thinking I'm going to gave at Porter, make a sharp move and get fouled and get to the basket. So as I'm going he was backing up and backing up, I didn't know where I was at on the floor, so I just stopped and pulled up and it went in."

Q: Have you hit a last-second shot before?

A: "I took against Cincinnati, I took one against Georgetown and I took one against Texas A&M, I'm 1 -for-4. Francisco was here, it was the first game of '09, I've been struggling the first half of the season and let's not forget about the sophomore slump. I think that everything is just coming at the right time and I just feel good right now."

Q: What did starting mean to you?


A: "Coach put me in the lineup this week, even though Andre (McGee) has been playing better than me, and that just goes to show how much confidence Coach P's got in me. I didn't want to let him down, or the fans down, so I just came out today and played my game and played aggressive."

Q: Has it hit you yet that you hit a last-second shot to beat Kentucky?

A: "It's probably going to hit me later on tonight when it comes on ESPN, but Louisville-Kentucky is just a great game, everybody in Louisville and Kentucky, everybody in the whole state looks forward to this game every year. So 20 years from now I can tell my kids how I went to Louisville and I hit the shot to beat Kentucky at the last second."

Q: Coach Pitino said he talked to you about transferring, is that true?

A: "Yeah Coach P told me maybe it's not going to work out here for me, he asked me to leave school and transfer. (But) this is where I want to be and there's why I committed before seeing campus and there's reason why I committed to the school, I wanted to play for coach Pitino. If there's something Coach P don't like about me, then I've got to change it. He said he don't like how I don't get up in the press if I play guard and how I've got to be more of a pass-first point guard, so that's what I'm going to do because I don't want to go to another school. I have a year and a half left in my college basketball career and I don't want to finish my college career at no other school, I want to be here at the University of Louisville."

Q: Was Coach pretty serious?

A: "He was pretty serious. Coach P told me this was the last meeting he was going to have with me, and stuff like that, and I really took that to heart and my family did as well. My mom was like, 'Don't worry about putting the game on your back every day, just go out and play and show Coach P that you understand because he's not going to want you hear no more.'

Q: Did he call your mom?

A: "No, he didn't call my mom, I called my mom and my brother and we were on three-way and I told them about the meeting and what-not and they were just like, 'Edgar you have to change.' I'm about to be 21 years old and I have to become a man now."

Q: When was this?

A: "It was the day after the UNLV game, we had the meeting, New Year's Day. This is right before our first practice, then he put me in the lineup for the Kentucky game and I'm just like, 'Is he serious, or is he just playing around?' But he's very serious about what he saying this was the last meeting he's going to have with me, so I'm ready to turn over a new leaf and just play great from here on out."

Q: Do you still believe you can become a great point guard?

A: "I still have that in me. Sometimes I may not show it, sometimes I play a little erratic, but I know that I can play this game and I know the things I'm capable of doing on the court. Many people may think that Sosa don't got it no more, or that freshman year was just a fluke, but I know what I can do on the court. It's going to take time, I worked hard this summer, it hasn't showed the first half of the season but I hope it shows in the second half."

Q: What's the biggest obstacle in you becoming a great point guard?

A: "I just think the biggest obstacle is playing more defense, because that's the reason why I'm not on the floor now. So I just have to give it all I've got on defense and just trust myself and my teammates on offense, because if I just play hard everything is going to flow."

Q: How many meetings have you had with coach Pitino where he says, "This is going to be our last meeting..?"

A: "I've had a lot. Last year I maybe had 25, this year it's probably been about five or six. The first couple of meetings were just encouraging meetings like, 'Sos don't worry about it, your shooting percentage is going to go up, your three- point percentage is going to go up, everything is going to go up, just keep playing the game.' So when he called me in that morning after UNLV I was just shocked and I was just like, 'What am I going to do now? Am going to go back home and have to get a job? Because I don't want to go to another school.' I'm just thankful coach P's still got confidence in me."

Q: Did you guys have a similar meeting last year?

A: "Yeah, after the North Carolina game he told me, 'I don't know if I'm going to renew your scholarship because you're not playing up to par, your attitude sucks,' and everything like that. I just know from here on out I've got to change and be the player that Coach P wants me to be, because I want to stay here."

Q: Did you, or he, tell your teammates about talking to you about transferring?

A: "He told the team in a meeting. He first had a meeting with me, then we always watch film about 30 minutes before we go out onto the floor, and he actually asked me, 'Is it okay if I told the team what we spoke about in the meeting?' and I said, 'Sure.'" So he let everybody know that he offered me to transfer and it would be the best thing for me because it's not working out. So I'm just thankful. It's only one game, and I'm turning it around little by little, and I'm showing that I want to be here."

Q: How did you find out you were going to start?

A: "That same day (New Year's Day), that same day. I had a meeting with him about 10:15, and then when practice started at 11 he called me on the first five. I was a little shocked like, 'You want me to transfer, yet your starting me in what most people think is the biggest game of the year?' And my was just like, 'Play, just play, don't worry about nothing, just go out and play. Don't worry about mistakes or nothing, just go out and play.'"

Q: Is this team going to be like the last two teams and catch fire in the second half of the season?

A: "That's what I've seen, that's what it's been like the first two years that I've been here and that's looking like it's going to happen this year. We always start off shaky and lose to teams that if we play them 10 times we'll beat'em nine and I think games like that just make us stronger in the Big East and when the NCAA (Tournament) comes around."

Q: How much did your talk with coach Pitino help you?

A: "It felt good, I just went out there and relaxed. I always felt like if I made a defensive mistake I was going to come out, but other players were allowed to make defensive mistakes. So I just told him that and he said, 'You know what I agree with you, I'm going to give you a little bit more leeway, but that doesn't mean you're not going to play defense at all. You're still going to play defense, but I'm going to give you a little more leeway on that.' Coach played me more minutes than I usually play today and he had confidence in me."

Q: Francisco Garcia was here today, did you talk to him?

A: "I had a meeting with Francisco for about an hour in my room this morning after walk-through. He was like, 'I don't like what I see out there. When you played with me on the national team you were just this happy-go-lucky kid who was just happy to play basketball, and right now every time I see you you have the screw face on, you're always upset.'...and he's just like, 'Go out there and have fun, because you're not going to be nothing in life if you're always mad. Even when it comes to business and stuff like that people don't like moody people and people who are always upset.' So I've just got to come out there and have fun like I used to my freshman year."

Q: Did you know Garcia was coming?

A: "I didn't, I didn't. Actually we were going over Kentucky's plays and T-Will was like, 'Look over your shoulder,' and I'm like, 'What?' And I look over and it's Francisco and I just got (he opens his eyes wide). We were going over Kentucky's plays, but I was like, 'I can't wait to walk- through is over, I've got to go see Francisco, I ain't spoke to him in so long.' So as soon as walk -through was over I just ran over there and he was like, 'Yeah I'm going to eat pre-game meal with you and I'm going to hang out with you in your room.' And I was with Francisco the whole morning, and what's through my head right now is when he hit that shot versus Marquette, it just feels good right now."

Q: Did coach Pitino set that up?

A: "Coach P didn't know he was coming down here til last night, so maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but I was just happy that Francisco was here for it."

Q: Can you take us back to the last play one more time?

A: "I was going to the basket and get fouled, because I didn't want Will to set a pick because I knew that they would switch and I would have to take a shot over (6-foot-9 Patrick) Patterson." Q: Were you ever going to pass it?

A: "If Will set the screen I was, but once I knew it was one-on-one I had to go at him and get fouled. So I saw him backing up, so I just stopped and pulled up."

Q: Have you ever hit a game-winning shot in high school, or any time before?

A: "This is No. 1. This is the first game-winning shot I've ever hit. I've taken a lot of them, but this is the first one I've ever hit, so it feels better than what I thought it would feel."

Q: Is your cell phone blowing up? Have you checked it yet?

A: "I haven't checked my cell phone, but I bet the person who has called me the most is my brother (Erick). I bet my brother is smiling ear-to-ear right now, because he also has not been happy with the way I've been playing, so I bet I'm going to get a lot of compliments from my brother."

Q: How much pressure have you put on on yourself to repeat that Texas A&M game from your freshman year in the NCAA Tournament?

A: "I haven't been trying to repeat the Texas A&M game at all, people just think that. I'm my own worst critic so if I go out there and get five points, or three points and two assists, I'm upset. I'm not upset at anybody else, but I'm upset at myself because I feel like I work hard and there's more that I can do out there on the floor. People take that as, 'Edgar's a ball-hog and all he wants to do is score,' but it's not like that, I just have high expectations for myself."

Q: Is this game going to be a springboard for you for the rest of the season?

A: "I haven't been playing up to my potential, so hopefully this game can give me a little more confidence going into each game and I can just have a great time out there and play to my potential like I know I know how."

Q: Did you feel like that last shot was going to go in?

A: "It was much different than when I shot the ball against Texas A&M (as a freshman). I knew that was off as soon as it left my hand. But this, it was lined up right, I shot it with good arc, I just kept my follow through and it went down."


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