A Q&A With Senior Riley Benock

Mississippi State senior basketball player Riley Benock talks his role on the team now that he is a senior and how he has tried to improve this summer.

With you being a senior, are you going to try be more of a leader on the team?
Riley Benock - "Yeah, that is kind of my role now. I was trying to take on more of that last year, with me being a junior, but I can't really change the person that I am. I just have to make a conscious effort to lead on the court and do the right things all the time, and kind of lead by example."

You mentioned being a leader by example, are you going to try to be more of a vocal leader as well?
"I have to. We lost all the leaders that we had last year, Jarvis (Varnado) and Stew (Barry Stewart), so we kind of need a group effort this year. And me being one of the seniors, along with Rav (Ravern Johnson) and Kodi (Augustus), it's just my duty now to step up and do that."

With Barry gone, will you try to be more of a shooter this year?
"I am going to try and make more of a conscious effort to be aggressive. Last year, I tried to play my role and not try to force to much. But I feel like this year I am going to be more aggressive and take more shots. And, hopefully, things will work out."

Have the coaches talked to you about the role they expect from you this year?
"It has kind of carried over from the years past. It seems like every year they want me to shoot more and be more aggressive, not just look to not make mistakes and not try to do to much. They want me to do more, try to go to the basket, set other people up, more than just look for my shot."

I know this is a cliche, but even as a senior are you trying to get bigger, stronger and quicker?
"That is always the plan. We've already been working hard this summer and I've picked up a little more weight than I had last year. I kind of got back to where I was before I had my surgery and even put on a little bit more."

How much do you weigh now?
"The last time I weighed in I was about 192, 194. I would like to get to about 195, 200 for the year. With the added strength, it helps out with everything due to the beating and banging you have to take."

I saw a video of you in high school and you were a very good leaper. Are State fans going to see you use that leaping ability to do a dunk or two during the season?
"I hope so, but it's a little bit different in high school than it is in college. It's not something I sit down and talk about, but if I get my chance, hopefully, I will be able to do something this year."

Considering this is your senior season, are you approaching this summer a little different than previous summers?
"A little but I still go in with the approach that it is time to get better and go in and work hard."

The team plays summer pickup ball. Based on what you have seen, what kind of offensive team do you expect this team to be?
"It's hard to tell from pickup games. But in a way I could still see us playing the four-out, one-in but I could almost see us going back to the three-out, two-in with Sid and Kodi inside and other bigs in there such as Elgin,John and Wendell. It's kind of hard to know right now. We'll just have to see what the matchups are when we get in there. And see what works out when practice starts."

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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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