Q&A with Rutgers F Junior Etou

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Forward Junior Etou shied away from the public spotlight as a freshman, but moves into a major role for Rutgers basketball as a sophomore. Etou spoke with ScarletReport.com at media day about his freshman season and increased expectations.

ScarletReport.com -- How much fun have you had at Rutgers so far?

Freshman forward Junior Etou -- “I really enjoy the campus, the facilities, the basketball coaches. I really enjoy everything at Rutgers, and I’m excited for this year.”

SR.com -- How much did you learn when you were a freshman?

JE -- I learned a lot when I was a freshman. I got a lot of playing experience. It taught me to work in the offseason. I’ve been working all summer.

SR.com -- Where do you think you’ve improved the most?

JE -- My defense and my jump shot. I’m going to be playing on the perimeter this year, so I have to be better with my jump shot.

SR.com -- How important is it for you to be better on defense as an every-day starter?

JE -- Good teams win with defense. Defense makes your offense go. We all focus on defense first because we need to stop bigger teams like Michigan and Michigan State. Defense is a big part of our game.

SR.com -- Is that a big deal for you to play against teams like Michigan and Michigan State?

JE -- No. Of course it’s a great experience to play against the best teams in a conference, but it’s not a big deal for me. I want to play anybody.

SR.com -- What do you like about Eddie Jordan?

JE -- He’s a good coach, you know. Since I came to Rutgers, he’s always been in my ear trying to help me with my game off and on the court. He’s just a great guy. I really like the way he coached.

SR.com -- Were you in the DC area when he was coaching the Washington Wizards?

JE -- No. I wasn’t there then, but he coached me on the AAU circuit, so I’ve known him for a long time. I think that was in 2012.

SR.com -- What does he do best as a coach? What do you like most about him?

JE -- He teaches. He’s not just a coach. He teaches you the game. He knows what you’ve got to do to get better. He just is talking to you every day to get you where you want to be.

SR.com -- You’re expected to be a full-time starter this year. Did your starting experience last year get you ready for this?

JE -- Yes, definitely. I’m more confident. Starting from last year and going into this year, I’ve learned a lot. I get confidence from that. I’m just waiting for the first game. I’m excited about that.

SR.com -- Being a quiet kid last year, Rutgers fans didn’t hear much about you. What would you say is your favorite part of Rutgers?

JE -- My favorite about Rutgers is the feeling of family. They look out for me. I love the campus and the coaches – everything about Rutgers.

SR.com -- Do you get a sense that you’re close to turning things around as a program?

JE -- We’re doing the right things now. We’re working very hard in practice so far. I think we’re going to do very well in the Big Ten this year.

SR.com -- What does it mean for you to represent Rutgers in the Big Ten?

JE -- Representing Rutgers in the Big Ten, it’s not just about me. It’s about our entire team. Some fans haven’t heard about Rutgers that much. We’re just trying to go out there and compete and teach them something about our school. I’m excited for it to start.

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