Interview with Lamarcus Aldridge

In the first of a five-part, week-long feature on Lamarcus Aldridge, <i>IC</i>'s David Thompson sits down with the sophomore star who is already being heavily recruited by the Tar Heels. Stay tuned the rest of the week for interviews with his coaches, as well as photos and video.

Inside Carolina's David Thompson conducted the following interview with Lamarcus Aldridge, a 6-10 sophomore at Dallas (TX) Seagoville.

Inside Carolina: You had an exciting season last year. What was your highlight?

Lamarcus Aldridge: Playing against Chris Bosh. I did good but it was hard. He's tall like me – he played good, too. It was a hard battle between us – they won the game, I won the matchup. He can't beat me one-on-one – never.

IC: Tell me a little about your game.

Aldridge: On defense, you're going to notice that I block shots. I block most everything that comes in the paint. On offense, I'm not like the aggressive type. I have finesse. I can move my feet, shoot jumpers. Head fake and try to go to the hole.

IC: What do you think your greatest strength is and what do you want to improve on?

Aldridge: My greatest strength is playing the post, dunking, blocking shots, post moves. Hard work. When I first got here I didn't have any post moves. It took hard work to learn how to time and block shots. Playing against bigger people, I had to put in the work. To me it's natural. I feel like I was made to play basketball, so I play it.

I want to get bigger, get a little stronger and get more tough-minded. I'm aggressive but I'm not where I should be right now. I'm lifting weights and I'm trying to eat well.

IC: What position do you see yourself playing in college?

Aldridge: Probably the "4." I'd like to run a little wing in college. I do have a shot; I can shoot.

IC: You've been talking to schools. What position are they talking to you about should you come to there?

Aldridge: They talk to me about running the "5," maybe the "4." Staying down low, maybe getting a few medium range shots. If I have to do it, I will. I practice on the "5."

IC: Tell me a little more about how you play defense.

Aldridge: I don't think – I react. I try to block the shot or I try to strip it, stop them from going to the hole and cut them off.

IC: Do you like to play half-court offensive sets or the run and jump game?

Aldridge: I really can play both but, whichever one they want me to do, I'll do.

IC: Would you consider yourself better facing the basket or playing with your back to the basket?

Aldridge: Either one, but most of the time I play with my back to the basket.

IC: How's your free throw shooting?

Aldridge: It was bad but I worked on it and I've got it back up; it's pretty good now.

IC: Where do most of your points seem to come from?

Aldridge: Most of the time they're from feeding the ball in to me but, if not, I like follow up baskets, trying to dunk them in. Follow up my shots, rebounding mainly.

IC: Who do you pattern your game after?

Aldridge: I love Kevin Garnett because he's tall and he can dribble, shoot, and do like Shaq sometimes.

IC: Who's the toughest player you've ever played against?

Aldridge: Chris Bosh so far, because of the height.

IC: What do you bring to the team besides the basketball skills?

Aldridge: I'm one of the captains so I'm a leader and I make good grades. I try to help them out in classes and I'm a leader. On the court I'm a leader as you can see. If they need help, I help them out, more by example. But if I have to get in their face, I will, but it hasn't happened yet.

IC: How are you doing in the classroom?

Aldridge: I'm doing good so far. It's getting a little harder but I've got to buckle down and do all my homework. But I'm doing good so far.

IC: What is your range like?

Aldridge: Medium range – the free throw line extended, I can shoot from there and the paint. In the game, if it's like a close game or something, I stay down low.

IC: Tell me about your work ethic.

Aldridge: I consider myself a hard worker because I go hard at practices. I come up here when I don't have to. I put in extra hours so I can be better than the rest.

IC: Tell me about your summer team play. You're getting ready to play summer ball. Who are you going to play for this summer?

Aldridge: So far, I'm going to play for Texas Blue Chips – Mitch Malone.

IC: What basketball camps and tournaments will you be at?

Aldridge: I'm going to try to go to all the camps but, for sure, I'm going to be at the ABCD camp. That's the main one I know I'm going to, no matter what.

IC: What's your goal for the coming season?

Aldridge: The first goal is to make the states [playoffs]. Then, I want to keep my averages up, keep blocking shots, keep playing strong, just keep playing good ball.

IC: How will you know you've had a good season next year?

Aldridge: Us going to the states – that's the only thing.

IC: What are you looking for as you are considering schools?

Aldridge: Academics and graduation rate and make sure it's a good school that teaches its students. So far, it looks like engineering. I'll probably go into engineering or design or something.

IC: How important is immediate playing time as a freshman?

Aldridge: It's not important but I feel like I'm going to do well enough to where I can start as a freshman so he won't have to think twice about starting me as a freshman.

IC: Who is your favorite college team?

Aldridge: North Carolina, because they have some of the top players at that school and they always do good, with the exception of this year. They're always in the Final Four.

IC: So what's your impression of the University of North Carolina? Tell me how you're thinking about them these days.

Aldridge: I feel they're one of the top schools I like. I still want to go there so far.

IC: How about the coaching staff? What's your impression of Coach Doherty and his staff?

Aldridge: They're good coaches, to me. They seem like they're good coaches. They're more laid back at times.

IC: What schools besides North Carolina are in contact with you?

Aldridge: Kansas, Wake Forest…

IC: Are any schools not in touch with you that you wish would get in touch?

Aldridge: No sir.

IC: Who would you say is your top three?

Aldridge: North Carolina, Kansas… I don't know who number three is.

IC: Who has expressed the strongest interest in you and how often do you hear from them?

Aldridge: North Carolina. On a weekly basis.

IC: And are they handling your recruitment like you'd like for them to?

Aldridge: Yes sir.

IC: How did last year's hard season for Carolina affect your thinking about them?

Aldridge: It didn't affect it really because everybody will have a down season so they'll just have to bounce back and come back strong next year.

IC: What's your favorite thing about being recruited?

Aldridge: I like it. It makes me feel like all my hard work is paying off and I keep on working even harder so I can get better.

IC: Do you have any kind of timetable for making your decision?

Aldridge: I really don't know yet – I can't say right now.

IC: Where do your Mom and Dad want you to play basketball?

Aldridge: They say where I feel comfortable, that's where they want me to go.

IC: What are your long term aspirations for your life?

Aldridge: To go to the league. To be an engineer/designer. Designing houses. Just to get to be an engineer.

IC: What other interests and hobbies do you have besides basketball?

Aldridge: To be on the internet. Video games.

IC: Who or what group is your favorite music?

Aldridge: Mystikal.


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