Guard Al Nolen Talks About Upcoming Season

Al Nolen Jr., a 6-foot-1 rising junior point guard from Minneapolis (MN) Patrick Henry, committed to the Gophers in July. Nolen Jr. led the Patriots to a 23-6 mark as a sophomore as he averaged 10.7 points per game. caught up with Nolen in Las Vegas to talk about the upcoming season.

Al Nolen Jr. became the first player from the Class of 2007 to commit to Minnesota.

Nolen played for the Minnesota Magic Elite AAU team that won the 2005 Kingwood Classic 16-and-Under title, a team that also featured Minnesota potential recruits Cole Aldrich and Blake Hoffarber.

What things have you been working on to improve your game?
"During the offseason, I came into the gym every day. I would shoot ten corner shots running back and forth from the elbow. I would have to make ten. I did a lot of conditioning. In the morning, we are still doing conditioning. I would shot free throws, then run killers and shot some more free throws. We got a shooting machine that I have been using a lot. Coach will give us some drill, some ballhandling drills. Coach will open up the gym for me to shoot."
You had said that you wanted to commit to Minnesota and that Minnesota was your school. Are you glad now that you got that out of the way and got rid of some of the recruiting headaches?
"Yes. I am really glad that I got that out or way because now I know what classes I have to take to go into college. I can go down there and play basketball at the "U." I can call the coaches and they can help me with whatever I need. Getting it over early with means that I don't have to say that "I have to do this to get into school or I have to do this for the ACT." They already let me know ahead of time what I have to do, so that will help a lot."
What are your expectations for your team this year? You obviously lost a couple of key players in Ross Forman and Brandon Mitchell, but will get to be more of a leader and scorer.
"This year's team is going to be really good. We've got Rob (Robert Eppinger) and Shawn Thurston from Cooper, which helps since we were missing a big man. We are going to be a really dominant force."

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