Lauderdale scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked five shots a game this year for the Solon (OH) Comets in earning first team all-Ohio honors in Division I as just a sophomore. Solon came within one game of reaching the state final four, falling to Mansfield Senior in the regional finals in Toledo 53-52.
Here is the interview we conducted with Lauderdale early Wednesday afternoon.
BN: "You guys had a 20-0 season. You basically were one step away from the state final four. What was that like for you?"
"It was not a surprise. It was expected for us because we had it in our minds that is what we were going to do. We were going to do whatever we needed to do. "
BN: "Is it kind of a wake-up call for you since you're only a sophomore and that you've got a taste of what it takes to get that far to help motivate you for the next two years to get better?"
"Of course. We basically have the same team coming back next year. We're losing Jordan Krantz, Devon Hill, and Jason Averman, who are seniors, but we basically have the same starting lineup coming back, and people are going to have to step up, including myself. "
BN: "What kind of things do you want to do in the off-season to improve your game?"
"My jump shot, my dribbling, and my strength – that will come in the weight room. "
BN: "What's more fun for you? Is it playing for Solon or traveling with your AAU team (the Cleveland Titans) in the spring and summer and getting to play against some of the top teams and the top players?"
"It's definitely AAU. I just like to see the world when I'm playing basketball, seeing different gyms, different people, and seeing new things. During the season, in high school, you tend to see the same people and the same teams because being in a league you have to play the same teams twice… it tends to get sort of boring once in a while. During AAU, you get to see new faces, new styles, and things like that, so I think it's a little better. I like playing basketball no matter where I'm at, though. "
BN: "How disappointing was it for you when you found out about David's (David Lighty, Lauderdale's AAU teammate) injury and the fact he won't be able to play this spring?"
"I was very disappointed. But, it just means we're going to have to step up in his absence. It happens, and that's life, but we just have to step up. Hopefully he gets better soon. "
BN: "How's he doing now?"
"I haven't talked to him since last week, but he had his surgery last Thursday. I hope he's doing all right. "
BN: "As far as you personally, you got to take in the Ohio State-Illinois game first and foremost last month. What were your impressions of that game?"
"That was a very good game. That was a great game and an excellent win for Ohio State. I know Coach Matta really well and some of the assistant coaches, and they did a really good job of coaching and the players stepped up. The game was fun to be at."
BN: "What schools are you most interested in here early in the process?"
"Right now, they are all even. They are equal until I can learn more about everyone. "
BN: "What schools are you hearing the most from though?"
"Right now, it's Syracuse and Ohio State. That's basically it right now. There are a lot of others writing and coming to see me, but those are the main two. Like I said though, they are all equal. There's no favoritism right now. "
BN: "What do you think of Michigan and Coach Amaker? I think they were looking at you too?"
"They were. They are a good basketball program too. I'm just laying out my options major-wise and looking at the educational part of it, and not just basketball. "
BN: "How are you doing in school?"
"I'm doing real good. I'm a 3.0 student."
BN: "Do you have any idea what you want to do in college yet?"
"No, not really… at least not yet."
BN: "I've been told that when the time comes you probably are going to take all your visits and take your time before making your decision, is that the case?"
"Yeah, that's actually what I'm going to do. "
BN: "Did you get a chance to meet Daequan Cook when you were down at Ohio State?"
"Yeah, I met Daequan, but I played against him the last couple of summers, so we were like acquaintances, so I caught myself up with him when I saw him. We're not like buddies, but we do know each other and we talk. I saw he signed with Ohio State though, that was really nice to hear. "
BN: "Did it surprise you?"
"Yeah it did. Ohio State right now, although it's not going to be in these future years, but it's kind of a football school more than a basketball school. But, that's why Daequan went there because he's going to turn it in to a basketball school. I'm really glad for him. I hope he does well. "
BN: "Lastly, what's the biggest thrill for you of all your experiences from playing for Solon, to making the regionals, to AAU basketball, to recruiting, college visits, and everything else so far?"
"Actually it's that I have to get better. That's the most important thing for me. "