Swopshire plays way back into starting lineup

It should come as no surprise that Jared Swopshire has barely made a peep about his new role as a reserve for the University of Louisville. The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward is soft-spoken by nature. He's the type of player who prefers to let play do the talking.

The St. Louis native started 16 of the Cardinals' first 18 games, but has started the last five games on the bench as UofL has gone to a taller lineup with 6-10 sophomore Terrence Jennings alongside 6-9 Samardo Samuels. Swopshire, though, has taken his new role in stride. In fact he's coming off his best all-around game of the season. Last Saturday in UofL's 76-60 win over Rutgers, Swopshire played a season-high tying 34 minutes, scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a season-high five assists.

Afterward UofL coach Rick Pitino said that, "Swop is getting better and better and is the guy who has improved the most."

Currently Swopshire is fifth on the team in scoring (8.1 points per game) and second in rebounding (6.0 per game) and though he's struggled with his field goal shooing (37.8 percent) he's still making 84.3 percent (59 of 70) of his shots from the free-throw line.

ITV caught up with "Swop" after the Rutgers game.

Q: How have things changed for you since going to the bench?

Jared Swopshire is making improvement on the court.
A: "They haven't really. My mindset is still the same, I just want to come in and give 110 percent and stick to the game plan."

Q: You don't mind not starting?

A: "Not at all. If that is what Coach asks for I know it's for the betterment of the team. So coming off the bench is fine with me, I'll still go out there and play my hardest."

Q: Did Coach talk to you about the move to bench?

A: "In practice he just tried a different lineup with TJ. That's what he went with and I think, really, it's for the betterment of the team. When I come in I'm giving it 110 percent. I keep telling TJ, ‘Just keep working hard doing your thing,' and I'm encouraging him when he's out there."

Q: Has it given you a different perspective?

A: "Definitely. Especially watching film, I get watch what TJ's doing so when I come in I'll know what to do when I get out there. It's definitely good from a observing standpoint."

Q: Coach said that you've really improved this season, do you feel like you've come a long way this year?

A: "Every day is just about improving, as a person, a basketball player, a student, every day."

Q: What part of your game are you most proud of?

A: "Just defensively, just trying to kind of be the general, just talking because I'm the back line. I have to let the point guards and the guards and wings, let them know what's going on as far as screens and pick and rolls and stuff like that. Defensively that's something I take pride in."

Q: Is that hard for you because you are a soft-spoken guy?

A: "Off the court I'm soft-spoken, but when I step onto the court it's all-out so I'm a different person."

Q: Your shot seemed to be falling today (he was 5-for-7 from the field against Rutgers), have you been taking extra practice?

A: "Just spending extra time in the gym, just trying to get that rhythm and that touch, just not rushing my shot really."

Q: Do you consider yourself a shooter?

A: "I think I'm a shooter. I think anybody can be considered a shooter, you just have to put that time in and have the right mechanics."

Q: What about the team's upcoming road trip to New York (St. John's on Thursday and Syracuse on Sunday)?

A: "It's big. We've got to get both of these wins. We've really got to focus in on practice and in film and just be prepared coming up."

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