USF Guard Jesus Verdejo
What are thoughts from the team's first game of the season against SMU?
"I thought we played really hard, especially on defense. We weren't hitting a lot of our shots and were missing some layups, and that's something we are focusing on. They came out playing hard, and we were surprised by their intensity. We knew they would come to play, and their guards played well the first half. Coming into the4 second half, we knew we had to come out and play defense, make layups, make free throws, and get rebounds. Alex, B.J. and Eladio did that and we all played hard and came away with the win."
How do you feel about your performance after leading the team with 18 points?
"I think I played good, but could have done better and made myself harder to guard. I felt that sometimes I made easier for my defender by not moving as much. The coaches told me to keep moving and finishing, and my teammates told me that we believe in you and are going to give you the ball, and I started making shots."
With you and Dominique Jones on the outside, how do you feel about the boards from your big men?
"They did really good. We lost Kentrell Gransberry, and he had 11 rebounds every game he played. So now we got B.J. Alex, Aris and Eladio, and their doing well, but besides that us guards have got to rebound more. We got to go into the Big East conference and all the guards are big, so we got to do our part."
After last year's slow start, how nice was it to get your first win of the season in the first game?
"It was great. It was good for coach, good for the program and great for us. Now when we go to play Virginia we have a little more confidence and I think we'll need that to win this game on the road. I played at Virginia before and there's going to be 15,000 fans going crazy there, and if we can come out with a win that we'll be huge for us."
How is it going to be for the younger guys going into that environment?
"Me being a senior and a team captain, I try to explain to the younger guys how it is on the road. You don't get any calls, no fouls, and you got to play through the crowds screaming. I tell told them you'll get some butterflies, and you just to play hard, get focused, and stay focused for 60 minutes."
What do you know about the Cavilers team you're going to face?
"They got big guards, guards lke me, Dominique and Chris Howard that can score, drive, and run a lot. Their power forward is really big, and I think the last game he had like 20 points and 18 rebounds. So we getting prepared for screens and long rebounds because they shoot a lot of threes, so we're ready."
How important is it for you to get this road win?
"It's very important, because we have to be realistic about it. We didn't have that great of a season last year. So we got to get wins as soon as possible, because we can't wait until mike Mercer and Gus Gilchrest are ready to play. We got to get wins right now."