Keefe Answers Your Questions

Bruin Report Online readers submitted questions to us for UCLA's committed junior, 6-8 James Keefe of Santa Margarita, and he answers them here...

BRO readers submitted questions, and James Keefe, the 6-8 junior who is committed to UCLA, answered them.

On playing the 3-4 or 5:

I will play whatever position the coaches want me to play. By playing multiple positions it gives the coaches options for different match-ups for different situations. Maybe my speed will be beneficial against certain 5 men. By playing the 3 position I may have a height advantage over the average 3 in the Pac 10. Defensively my height advantage might be enough to throw my opponent off his game or disrupt his shot. The opposite is true offensively at the 3. My height advantage might get me better looks at the basket. The coaches will look at the match-ups and the ability and make the right choice. By being able to potentially play multiple positions it doesn't pigeon hole me into one position.

On working on his mid-range shot:

Actually, I am working on all my shots. Just over the last week I have been in private training several times just working on shooting. I would like to develop a consistent mid-range jumper that I am hitting 70-80%+.

On other interests Keefe has:

Hanging out with my friends, music, going to the beach and playing cards.

On other schools still recruiting him:

Not really. I still receive a lot of mail from schools even though I sent them a letter that said I was committing to UCLA. I think I must be on their mailing list. Coaches that have recruited me have said, "Hi" at games but that is just because we had developed a relationship. I believe that everyone knows this is a firm commitment.

On his high school team (Santa Margarita) next year:

I think we are going to be very good. We lost a very good point guard but we have everyone coming back. We were a young team last year with three transfers, two of which started. Winning CIF is a combination of a little bit of skill and a little bit of luck. Some days no matter how good you were in the past your shot just doesn't fall. And some days you can't miss. The trick is making sure the lucky days fall on the games that are really important.

On breaking his dad's nose (His father, Jim, provides the answer):

He didn't break my nose but he came close. If you have ever been a parent of a teenage boy you know when the passing of a boy to a "what-to-be" an adult is. It is when your son challenges you to everything. This was such a time. I got tired of having him come up to me and wanting to box with me. I finally said yes, put on the gear and said, "go." Next thing I know he hits me with a right smack on the nose, and I am seeing butterflies. My nose hurt for days.

On burn-out:

Play basketball every day since you were in 4th grade and "yes" there are times you get burned out. Mainly in the summer when your friends are going to the beach and you are in a hot gym running the same play over and over again or running lines. This is why I take 5-6 weeks off beginning in August and not pick up a basketball. But don't feel too sorry for me. I am still playing and it looks like I will be playing for another few years. I know some kids that really wish they were playing but are not.

On other sports:

I played a little baseball, volleyball, La Crosse, golf and soccer as a kid. I love football and play flag football with my friends.

On being a student-athlete:

Santa Margarita is an extremely competitive high school. From what kids have told me it was a lot easier to get better grades from the schools they transferred from than at Santa Margarita. During basketball season it is hard to keep up with the schoolwork and practice. Our coach has mandatory study hall, prior to practice, so we don't fall behind. I am sure it will be harder in college but I think Santa Margarita has done a good job in preparing me.

On how important the academic reputation of the school is in recruiting:

Very important, but not the only thing. I felt UCLA was a fit for me because it had a great academic reputation. It also has a great basketball tradition and it is located in a great area. I really connected with the coaches and I think the coaching staff will get this program back on track. I plan on staying in Southern California after school so by going locally I can go to all the sporting events as an alumni. I saw you guys at the tailgate parties before the football games.

On his past coaches:

I have had some great coaches. First my dad, then he met Ricardo Brown, an All-American from Pepperdine, and they coached our 5th, 6th and 7th grade club team. Ricardo was a great coach of the fundamentals. In 8th grade there was Rick Pluimer, the dad of Lindsey Pluimer (A freshman on UCLA's women's team this year), who was great and then my high school coach, Jerry De Busk. I have been lucky to have some great coaches.

On When UCLA will be in the Final Four:

2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.


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