The following is a Q&A TSD's Matt McCurdy conducted with Darcy Malone, LSU basketball's newest commitment. The 7-foot Australian indicated he will be enrolling in the fall of 2013.
Please note that the final two questions in this interview, all of which was conducted via email, took place after Malone's official verbal commitment on Feb. 7.
Matt McCurdy: How long have you been in contact with LSU?
Darcy Malone: I sent a letter of introduction to the staff just before last Christmas. Then Coach [David] Patrick rang me around the middle of January this year, telling me about the LSU Program, and how I fitted in to Coach [Johnny] Jones' plan for the 2013-2014 season.
MM: What is your relationship with LSU assistant, David Patrick?
DM: Though we only met recently, our relationship is very close. As you may know he played professional basketball in Canberra, where I am from. He is very good friends with many of my State coaches, and is very familiar with Australian basketball, and the potential and future of many of our players.
MM: Describe your visit to LSU and what you did during the trip, in as much detail as possible.
DM: After long delays in Dallas, I arrived in Baton Rouge rather late the first night and stayed in the Renaissance Hotel. I woke up to meet with the Coaches and had a few good conversations about Aussie slang and how differently it translates. Then I had a personal tour; getting to meet with the educational advisors, and to talk about what I could study and the options available to help earn a Degree. Then I went to watch Coach Jones and the team training. I was lucky enough to see the LSU game against Missouri, and got to see just how much LSU and its fans love their basketball and their team.
Afterwards, we went and had some great Southern food at Walk Ons, where I got to try some gator, and poboys. I am a real fan of the local food! The next day I went to watch a training session before the team hit the road. I went to meet with the Business faculty and had a tour of the academic facilities. I was blown away by the LSU sporting facilities too; getting to see 'Death Valley,' meeting Mike the Tiger, as well as going through the strength and conditioning gym. The next morning I left for Dallas airport after a very short but fantastic visit.
MM: Was it your first trip to the U.S.?
DM: No I have visited twice before; first on a basketball tour with my State team when I was a Freshman where we toured colleges in Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. The second visit was to Los Angeles where I participated in the Adidas Nations with other Australian players. I have been lucky enough to play against the USA National team in the Canary Islands, Spain, and in Kaunas, Lithuania, both before and during, World Championships, 2012.
MM: Did you encounter any problems on your trip (such as canceled flights, missed flights, etc.)?
DM: The only problem was a 12 hour plane delay from Dallas to Baton Rouge (both coming from and going home), which resulted in me spending almost a day in Dallas airport over my very short trip.
MM: How long did it take?
DM: Close to 20 hours each way give or take a couple of hours.
MM: What are LSU coaches telling you about how you fit into LSU's future, as far as playing time and abilities?
DM: They will need a strong center to replace [Andrew] Del Piero. I will need to fit in with the future players, as well as Coach Jones' strong style of play. LSU will need me to be a strong presence on the boards, and they believe that my future has no boundaries; that they are there to support wherever I want to go as a player. As for playing time, that just depends on who we are playing, what our Coach and team need, and what I can contribute when I am on the floor.
MM: Do you think you are ready to contribute at the SEC and NCAA level?
DM: Certainly, I have faith and confidence in myself, and how I fit in with the team. If it means sacrificing scoring to get other players open, or putting my body on the line on or off the court to help my team develop, I will definitely contribute to our success in the SEC. I know there will be challenges and many things to learn, but there will also be amazing opportunities playing in such a fantastic Conference with such an amazing group of guys.
MM: David Patrick recruits a lot of Australian players. Do you know of any others that are considering LSU?
DM: Yes David does have some terrific Australian connections and there are many fantastic Australian players that would love the opportunity to play with LSU. Australian Coaches speak very highly of David as a person and a coach, and his personal connections with my trainers and coaches here will make my transition to LSU much smoother. I am not aware of the plans of other players, however.
MM: LSU has targeted Ben Simmons and Dante Exum over the next few years. How well do you know them and what kind of abilities do they have?
DM: Dante and I are friends, and go way back to when our Club teams both participated at the 2008 Under 14 Championships held in Darwin, Australia. From then on, we continued to compete against each other at a State level. We both attended the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, and Junior College together. Dante, Ben and I represented Australia and won Silver against the USA at the World Champs in Lithuania in 2012 and we are good friends. Dante and Ben are exceptional Australian players and will no doubt make names for themselves when they too decide their personal pathways.
MM: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
DM: Strengths: Touch, post moves, coachable, flexible, shooting, rebounding. Weaknesses: Strength, more moves, defense, completing my game.
MM: What is your actual size? (Height and weight)
DM: I am 7 feet tall and I weigh about 220 pounds. I have only just turned 18, and I am still growing which is a bonus!
MM: Please add any additional comments that you would like to contribute, whether about yourself or LSU.
DM: I am currently competing at the Australian National U20 Men's Basketball Championships in Tasmania, and am excited about my future with LSU.
MM: What made you commit to LSU?
DM: The lead up to this commitment has been a very long one. LSU was not the first college to show interest in me over the past two years, and there were many different factors that went towards the decision making process; rosters, coaches, reputation, location and conference, academic and athletic facilities, etc., and it has been a matter of putting together the pieces of the puzzle and finding the right personal 'fit' for me. Visiting LSU confirmed this was the right decision, and that I would be happy with the University and the Program.
MM: Why did you commit this early and not take any other visits?
DM: I have visited other Universities unofficially on other trips to the USA, and I have been in very close contact with several other schools. LSU was in my top 20 favorite schools when I sent my letter of introduction to everyone, and Coach Patrick saw this and contacted me straightaway. I was told fantastic things about Coach Patrick back here in Australia, and about Coach Jones' Program, and the coaches wanted to see me for themselves, which was easiest with a personal visit. They were very proactive with their recruiting and I consider myself very fortunate to be part of such a great team.
Q & A: Darcy Malone
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