Al Nolen Talks about Senior Year and Gophers

Minnesota Gopher signee Al Nolen Jr. scored a season-high 22 points as he led Minneapolis (MN) Patrick Henry to a 87-60 win over St. Paul (MN) Cretin Derham Hall Tuesday night. The Patriots are off to a 6-1 start and are ranked #1 in Class AAA. Golden Sports.Net caught up with Nolan to talk about his senior season and his future with the Gophers.

Al Nolen Jr. was one of four Patriot teammates to reach double figures in their easier than expected win over Cretin Derham Hall. Nolan is averaging 11.9 points per game this season.

Obviously, a very good game tonight. You started out strong with the scoring, going for 19 points in the first half, but really concentrated on the other things, rebounding and passing the ball. Is that something that you are trying to do even more this year?
"This year as a senior, I'm trying to open up my game more. Passing and rebounding. Getting a little stronger. I think that I did that well today."
Obviously without Robert Eppinger (who averaged twelve rebounds per game last season), you are a little more of a perimeter team this year. Is that one reason that you are having to step it up as a rebounder, too?
"We really don't have a lot of size this year, so we really have to pressure and try to get turnovers. Play on the perimeter a lot and get keep teams from getting it down low because we lost a lot of size from last year."
How about your team's play so far? Are you pretty happy with the way things are going so far. Obviously, you had a pretty disappointing loss last week (to Hopkins), but other than that, you have played really well.
"Yes. I think that our team is growing with each game. I think that we just wanted to come out and make a statement since we lost to Hopkins. It was a sloppy game, but we had not played a team as good as Hopkins up to that, so I think that it was a learning experience. It was the best thing for us early in the season."
You played some teams down in Florida. I was surprised how bad you beat them. Were you surprised how easy you handled those teams.
"We really did not play any good competition in Florida, but it was good to get down there and play well."
Was it a good opportunity to bond with your teammates?
"I think that it was a good thing to get away and get to know everybody and bond as a team."
I don't know if you heard about what Coach Molinari said about you on the radio. He said that you are the type of player who could actually help the team this year. How does that make you fell hearing him say good things like that?
"That makes me feel really good. That lets me know that Coach Molinari and the staff have a lot of confidence in me. I just want to go there right away and help the team the best I can."
How do you feel about the situation there? Obviously, a lot of uncertainity since you do not know who you are going to be playing for next season. Is that kind of tough?
"Right now, I'm hoping that Coach Molinari gets the job, but most likely he probably won't. Right now, I''m just focusing on my high school season. Whoever coaches, I'll be fine with."
What type of goals do you have for the rest of the year?
"Right now, we are trying to win state. We want to win conference for sure and I am trying to make a run at Mr. Basketball."

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