Q&A With Miami Commit Vince Legarza

Incoming freshman Vince Legarza decided last fall to walk-on to the Miami basketball team for a year. After that, he will have a basketball scholarship for the remaining years at Miami. He spoke with RedHawk Insider about why he chose Miami, his now famous YouTube video, and his desire to help hang even more championship banners in Millett Hall.

Incoming freshman Vince Legarza decided last fall to walk-on to the Miami basketball team for a year. After that, he will have a basketball scholarship for the remaining years at Miami.

Legarza is a post player who just happens to be able to be an excellent shooter. At Miami's Elite Camp on Millett Hall's main gym, this author witnessed Vince drain eight or so NBA three pointers while shooting around during a break in the camp's play. A short time later he spoke with RedHawk Insider about why he chose Miami, his now famous YouTube video, and his desire to help hang even more championship banners in Millett Hall.

First question I have to ask you, the internet video from half court, tell me about that.

Last year, my junior year in the sectional championship game, third quarter, I shot it from like the opposite three point line. It was like my third buzzer beater that year. I made two regular threes and then that one. In that one were playing a team that beats us three times in league. We got them in the championship game in sectionals to go to NorCals (regional). And another special thing was my grandfather died like four days before so I felt like he may have helped out with the shot a little bit. It was just nice to bring a little joy to my family a little bit. It was just good to win.

Am I the first person to ever ask you about that?

No. (laughter). No. No. No. No.

Last year, when your name starting surfacing as someone who could come to Miami, I did a little Yahoo or Google search and the first thing that pops up is your shot on YouTube.

Yeah. There is more and more now of me. We were playing the number 1 team in the state and first my teammate tried to throw an alley oop. I kind off posted up and tried to throw a jump hook.

I saw you out here earlier shooting (on Millett Hall floor) and you made eight NBA three pointers in a row. You do that a lot?

Yeah, I am a pretty good shooter. That is something I like to work on a lot. My dad was a college coach. He was only 6'3", 6'4" so he was always kind of a shooter. I have been shooting for a long time. One thing he has always preached to me is that you should always be able to do a little of everything. I practice inside as well as outside because if you can do both that is always better.

What brought you from San Francisco?

I came out and knew there was a great tradition with Coach Coles and the success they have had in the past. When I came out here and visited, I fell in love with the campus, the guys on the team, and the coaches. I kind of wanted to get away from California. I did not want to go to a school too close to home, so I thought Southern California, someplace in the Midwest, or East Coast would be a good place to go to school. I go on vacation up in Michigan with one of my best friends every summer and that is where I fell in love with the Midwest. That is why I am here, I think.

How much input did your dad have in choosing what school to go to?

He is real good. Ever since my basketball started when I was three, I would always ask him to go work out. He would never force it on me. He tried to stay out of it as much as possible because he wanted it to be my decision. He was real happy being an old coach; he liked the fact that Coach Coles is here. He knew the program was good. Some of the schools that were recruiting me, he let me check it out, but I could tell he had a bad feeling about the coach, or the situation, or the players on the team. He was silent like he is with everything. But we both talked about it and came to the conclusion that this place would be perfect for me. But he wasn't forcing anything on me or anything like that.

What other schools were you interested in?

In California, schools around my house like St. Mary's, University of Pacific, and Stanford. Out here, Loyola of Chicago, Northwestern, and Miami. On the East Coast, Northeastern, Creighton, Richmond. It came down to St. Mary's and here. The coach (at St. Mary's) was close to my family. He and my dad worked together at San Diego. They got a great team and a cool school, but it was just too close to home. It is a smaller school as well. So that is why I came here.

So it is my understanding you are going to walk-on for a year and then have a scholarship for the remaining years?

Yeah. When it came down to it, it was either go here or St. Mary's probably. I was fortunate enough that my family was able to pay for a year of college. My dad said, "Hey, don't sacrifice four years just because we have to pay for a year." So, he said he was able to pay for one year and then I would get three free. He said "don't worry about the money." He told me to go to the school I want to go to, the school I love, so that is what I did.

What do you want to do here at Miami?

School wise?


I kind of want to study finance. I also want to take some sports coaching classes. Coaching is in my family. My father and grandfather were college coaches. I am interested in that and interested in finance. What I might do is try to get a degree in finance with a minor in coaching and try to stay here and extra year and be a grad assistant and then see which way I want to go.

You know who you are going to room with here?

Either (fellow freshmen) Julian (Mavunga) or Kramer (Soderberg). This summer with Julian. We will see if that changes.

Did you get here Wednesday (June 25, 2008)? What day did you get back here?

Yeah Wednesday, Wednesday night. Long, long trip.

Your folks coming in to see you play some games this year?

Oh yeah definitely. My dad just does summer camps, basketball camps. So, he gets all the fall and winter off. So he will probably come out here and watch a couple of games. Last year, once I signed, he ordered the DirecTV super package, so we got to watch like 13 games. So he will probably watch a lot of TV games too, but he will definitely come out and watch.

Tell me a little something about you that most people would not know? If I put it in an article, what would you want people to know about you? Stranger the better.

Almost two years ago I was a scratch golfer and almost gave up basketball.


Yeah. I worked at a golf course my freshman and sophomore summers. I was a 2 handicap, about a scratch golfer. I had to decide for college, golf or basketball. I could only choose one because it takes so much dedication to improve so much, so I dropped golf and stuck with basketball.

You still getting on the links a little bit?

I mess around with my buddies every once in a while. It is frustrating because I was playing around four hours every day, and now I get frustrated because I used to be good. Now, I just play for fun.

When you say used to be good, what are you, like a 3 handicap now?

No. No. No. I'm like a 16 now.

A little drop from a scratch.

Yeah, little bit, little bit, little bit of a drop.

Well maybe you can be a golf pro some day?

Yeah, when I retire or something like that I could work at a golf course again.

Anything you want to add?

I look forward to coming and play here next year and having a lot of fun. I hope I can work hard this summer and help the team next year get some more championship banners up.

Two more questions here. First of all, who would you pattern your game after if could describe it?

Let's see. College or pro?

However you want to describe it? Not something obscure. Someone people would know.

My dad says I am a mixture of Kevin McHale and uh, um, who is the guy from the Pistons? The big, strong guy. The bully. One of the "Bad Boys."

Oh, Bill Lambier?

Lambier, yes. The newspaper in San Francisco always called me Kevin Love, Jr. because of my ability to shot, pass, and stuff like that. But I don't like being compared to a guy who is only a year older than me. So, Kevin McHale and Lambier, yeah.

What have you been told about how you are going to be used here?

I don't know. They told me they want to take advantage of my ability to shoot, pick and pop, and stuff like that. Set blocks, pass, pick and pop. A lot of trying to create doubles to get others guys open shots.

Okay, thank you very much!

Thank you.

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