Talk about your game.
"I think I did a pretty good. I have to pick it up on the defensive end and rebounding. Coach said that I just really have to rebound the ball. Rebounding the ball is the biggest thing for me. I think I'm going to play if I rebound the ball, and I want to play. That is my goal for the year...to be in the starting lineup and play more and more. Playing behind Lawrence Roberts for the last two years was tough, but it has given me a lot of experience. Now, I can finally play a little more and people can see what I can do."
As a veteran on a team full of freshmen, what do you do as a leader to help them?
"Coach said that we just have to communicate with them and constantly talk to them. Put them in the right spot and tell them what to do. They are pretty good, very talented. They played good. They are young and inexperienced, but in the long run I think they are going to be really good. From now on, we just have to tell them what to do and show them how to act on the court."
This team is young and inexperienced. What do you think are the realistic goals for this team?
"Hopefully, I think we can reach the NCAA. That is definitely my goal for this year. I want to go (to the NCAA) five years in a row. I definitely want to surprise a lot of people. They put us fourth in the SEC West and I want to surprise them. People think we are so young and immature, but we have a lot of talent. With the help of people like me, with the young guys we can turn around and be a really good team this year."
What we saw tonight, is that what can be expected of you for every game?
"This is what you should expect every game. I just need to be better at rebounding. I just need to have more of a nose for the rebounds. That is the only thing I think I need to work on. I'm not worried about my scoring. I just need to rebound better, because we let the opposing team get too many rebounds and shots."
You shot a few threes tonight. Is that something you've done in the past?
"I've been an outside shooter since the ninth grade."
But you didn't make any tonight.
"I think I was 0 for 5. I told coach that I have never shot a three in my life and he laughed. I gave up on the three for now. It was just an experiment."
What will it take for you to play on a consistent basis like you played tonight?
"I think I can be consistent. It will just take time. I will see my way through it. I'm pretty sure I am going to be consistent all three years."
How much better can you get?
"I can be much better than I was tonight."
In what aspects of your game can you improve?
"My rebounding and my toughness."
You would probably be considered a veteran on this team. How do you help the freshmen?
"I just like talking to them and teaching them their way like Lawrence Roberts did me. That really helped me. That's why I'm a better player, mentally. I was already better, physically. With the freshmen, I just talk to them because they need someone to talk to when they are frustrated. I know I was very frustrated last year, so that's why I talk to them. I don't want them as frustrated as I was last year."
Who or what has helped you on and off the court since last year?
"On the court, I would say my teammates and my coach because they want me to do better because when I do better the whole team does better. Off the court, my grandmother just passed away and that has really motivated me."
Does Coach Stansbury get on you like he did last year?
"He doesn't get on me like he used to. That's real nice."
What was your impressions of the team as a whole?
"It was good playing someone other than ourselves, but we had way too many turnovers and we quick shot the ball a lot."
Is that expected early in the season?
"Yeah, it was expected due to all the new guys and being the first game. We expected turnovers and we expected a lot of quick shots. But we didn't rebound the ball as well as we should have. We didn't box out and rebound as well as we should have."
What were the positives from the first game?
"Rhodes came along real well. Jamall (Edmondson) stepped up and made some shots for us. Piotr (Stelmach) played really well. He rebounded the ball and played with a lot of energy. The Delk twins did well. Vernon (Goodridge) came in and gave us some good minutes. Jamont Gordon played well."
When you see Vernon again will you give him some helpful hints.
"We talk about the games and the aspects of the game that we need to work on."
What will you talk to him about?
"His main problem was just jitters. That's all it was."
Coach Stansbury said he reverted back to rec ball. Was that expected for his first game?
"Yeah, he regressed a little bit, but it was expected. It's called game slippage. Getting out there for the first time in front of an environment."
How do you get over it?
"It'll come naturally. At some point, you get over it and just play. But, for a first game, it was fine."
Talk about your impressions of the first game.
"The positive was that we didn't get our heads down when we got into a close game. We played hard on defense and executed some plays. In practice, we probably need to work on our transition game a little more."
Was it good that this game was close at one time?
"It was good because I know when we get into the SEC competition there are going to be a lot more close games. This kind of showed us what we need to do when we get into a close game."
Do you feel completely comfortable at point guard?
"I feel confident. I have to feel confident because we have a young team. I have to lead the young guys."
Talk about what you saw from the young guys that you liked?
"All the freshmen are good offensive players. They just have to get stronger and better on defense, but I feel that they will catch on because they are hard workers."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.