Interview: Cedric Bozeman

The talented freshman point guard is cool and relaxed despite the considerable pressure on him to start at the position in his first year on a team that has Final Four aspirations...

Last week before practice, BRO (and many other media sources) got a chance to interview UCLA's 6-7 freshman point guard Cedric Bozeman, who you might expect to be exhausted already from all of the hullabaloo surrounding his arrival. Instead, Ced comes across as a very quiet, confident, and relaxed young man who doesn't seem to be even remotely worried about becoming the starting freshman point guard for a nationally-ranked, high profile program (the questions below were asked by the collected media sources):

BRO: First of all, how are you feeling?

Ced: I'm fine. I'm still a little sore, but I'm feeling better every day. Sometimes it still hurts when I push off, but otherwise I'm fine.

BRO: Are you going to play tomorrow night?

Ced: Hopefully. That will be up to the coaches. If I don't start, we have other guys who will do the job. Jason and Dijon can both play point guard for us. We have a lot of multi-dimensional players and they are ready to go.

BRO: How would you grade your performance in the first exhibition game?

Ced: I feel pretty good about my performance. I can do some things better.

BRO: Such as?

Ced: Explosion, getting by people. Staying poised. On defense, and on the press, anticipating plays ahead of time.

BRO: What did the coaches tell the team after the exhibition game? What areas do they think you need to work on the most?

Ced: They talked about the unselfish play of the team. They were pleased with that. But we need to work on being more physical, taking more charges, and moving more quickly on defense, to cut off penetration by the ballhandlers.

BRO: Are you excited about playing in Maui next week?

Ced: We look at this as a business trip. This is one of the biggest tournaments in the country, it has some of the top teams in college basketball. We just want to play the best teams, see how we match up, get some victories, see what we need to work on. The big games we play now will get us ready for the bigger games we'll play later on in the season. So, for us, we're not "excited." This is a business trip.

BRO: Do you feel a lot of pressure becoming the starting point guard, maybe the only point guard, at UCLA?

Ced: No. I fit in really well with this team. I feel really comfortable. There's no pressure at all. We have a lot of veterans who give us leadership. They keep us poised and level-headed. A player like Jason Kapono keeps you relaxed. He tells you to just make plays, stay relaxed. Getting advice from a player like Jason Kapono is a great advantage for me, and it's a real key.

BRO: Have you started to think about what it will be like next year, when Jason Kapono and Dan Gadzuric and the other seniors will be gone?

Ced: No. I'm enjoying playing with them now. Maybe after the season is over, I'll be thinking about it. Right now, I'm glad they're here.

BRO: Were you surprised by how well Arizona played last week?

Ced: No. They've got a great coach. Jason Gardner is a great player. They have five really good freshmen. Arizona is always good, how can it be surprising? Maybe a lot of other people are surprised, because they don't realize that the Pac-10 is a great conference.

BRO: Your two final choices for college out of high school were UCLA and Florida. What were the main factors in your decision to attend UCLA instead of Florida?

Ced: Staying close to home, the tradition, getting a chance to start right away. Mainly, it was my family, them having a chance to see me play. You can't beat that.

BRO: Who do you see as your biggest threat in the Pac-10 this year?

Ced: Everyone is our biggest threat. The Pac-10 is a strong conference.

BRO: Who do you room with?

Ced: Gene Barnes.

BRO: How is that working out?

Ced: Great. It was just a matter of chance. We got assigned. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He's really clean.

BRO: How does the team get up for these exhibition games?

Ced: We take every game like it's a regular season game, we try and get a "w". And I see every game as a learning experience, a chance to get better in different aspects of my play.

BRO: Are you planning on staying in college all four years? Have you been thinking of turning pro after this year?

Ced: I will definitely be back. My plan is to play for four years and get my degree.

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