"I'm just trying to get my footspeed quicker and improve on the defensive end by getting my legs stronger."
What are some things you are doing to get your legs stronger?
"Squatting more, just doing more detail in my weights, having (strength) Coach (Richard) Akins push me more even though he does that already."
How do you get quicker?
"Well, first of all you have to get your legs stronger. But just doing footspeed drills, stepping over the ladder, pulling and pushing the sled. Things like that."
How much stronger have you gotten?
"Actually, a lot stronger. I have seen my legs get more defined."
How much has your squat number increased?
"I have probably increased my squat by 100 pounds. I am probably squatting 350 now. I have been here both June and July.
"Think of how much better I will be on the defensive end when I get my legs stronger and my footspeed quicker."
That's a pretty good increase. What's the reason for the big increase?
"When I first got here I didn't know how to squat that well. I hadn't done it in high school."
You mentioned how you've tried to improve your defensive game. How have you tried to improve your offensive game?
"Offensively, I'm just trying to be smarter, get my mental game up, taking better shots, reading the defense better. The physical part is there. The talent is there. It's just knowing the game."
In your mind, if everything comes together for this team, what is it's realistic potential?
"In my mind the realistic potential is winning the SEC championship and repeating as the SEC Tournament champs. I think we can do that if we play as a team and everybody plays hard and comes focused every night. We can do that because we are the same team and I think the chemistry will be there."
How far do you think this team can go in the NCAA Tournament?
"I'm looking forward to getting past the first round and maybe advance to the Sweet 16 and Final Four. But we have high expectations every year, so that's nothing new for us."
If this team lacks anything, what do you think that is?
"Every team lacks something. With this team it would probably be not being focused sometimes, getting lazy sometimes."
It's not the talent or skill level then?
"No, we have a ton of talent and we have a ton of talent coming in. Every year Mississippi State is known for its talent."
Has any one player impressed you this summer?
"More than one player has impressed me, but I would have to say Dee (Bost). He is really working on gaining weight, getting stronger, and really just trying to maximize his potential.
"And Ro (Romero Osby) is trying to learn to be better at the three spot since he will probably play it more.
"And (true freshman) John Riek looks good and he is working really hard. He loves to play. He's in the gym every day after weights. You might get a freshman who doesn't want to play after lifting weights because his body is fatigued. But I see him in the gym as much as me and I'm always in the gym. That is impressive to me."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.