Stover On His Improvement

Sophomore center Anthony Stover talked about his expectations for the team and himself heading into the season, and how he's improved in the off-season...

Anthony Stover talked to us at Media Day.

Q: How's your offensive game looking?

A: It's a LOT better. It's much more improved. I probably shot 100,000 free throws this summer because those two free throws I shot in the Florida game replay in my head every single day. Besides that, I really worked on my game all the way around, so when I do get in the game, I will contribute both offensively and defensively.

Q: How are you feeling about your free throw stroke?

A: I'm feeling good, a lot more confident. Willing to shoot it now, actually.

Q: Offensive moves, what do you have in your arsenal now?

A: I think I've gotten my left and right jump hook down, so I can just catch it in the post and throw it right up. I've got some quick moves , so I think I should be able to score some points for our team this year.

Q: How much does it help going up against a guy like Josh Smith in developing your offensive game, seeing what he brings to the table?

A: It's unreal, to be honest. Every single day, I say that I get the most tired in practice because I have to bang Josh, and move around Josh, and swim around Josh the whole time. Run with Josh up and down the court . It's a lot of work. I enjoy it though, because he makes me better every day and I hope I make him better every day by working hard against him.

Q: Do you think he has to work a little bit harder to deal with your quickness and length?

A: I definitely get under his skin, because he likes to drop that shoulder in the post and I'll take the charge in practice every time. But now when he gets into a game, he doesn't drop the shoulder because he knows if he drops it during practice that's when I'll take another charge. So I'm helping him out and he's helping me out. And really, I love Josh. He's one of my good friends on the team and we really work hard together.

Q: Do you have any expectations for the year in terms of playing time?

A: Well I really have no expectations in terms of how much I'm going to be on the floor. I just know that when coach Howland does put me out on the floor I'm going to give as much energy, if not more energy than I gave on the floor last year. Being able to help out with as many minutes as I can, whether it's two minutes one game or 20 minutes the next game Whatever coach Howland puts me out there for I'm ready to just go out and perform.

Q: And you're primarily going to be backing up Josh at the 5.

A: Primarily, but hopefully we can switch up some things. I started in front of him a couple of times last year and he started in front of me the majority of the year. However coach Howland sees it and whatever he sees with the match ups and everything, I'm just going to really follow coach's lead.

Q: Talk about your defensive impact on the team.

A: I've always thought that I was defensive presence since I started playing basketball. My favorite thing is to block somebody's shot. It's very intimidating when you dunk on someone, but I feel like when you can take away somebody's dunk or layup, it really hurts their feelings. It's almost more insulting, because it's saying, "You can't score on me." And I really like that feeling. But this year I'm hoping to bring something that hasn't been done at UCLA in a while. I'm trying to go after a couple of blocked shots records and see what I can do. My defense is my strong point and I really have to run with that.

Q: Defensively, talk about some of the things you've worked on this summer.

A: I've definitely gotten quicker laterally and being able to guard people not only on the post, but also if I have to guard a 4 out to the perimeter. I think I've gotten a lot better at being able to step out on those guys. I don't have to worry about Derrick Williams anymore, which is nice. But any 4 guys like that who can go out and dribble, I'm much more confident guarding them now.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories