Freshman Ryan Hollins

6-11 freshman frontcourt player Ryan Hollins talks about how he happened to come to UCLA, and a few of his opinions about himself and this year's UCLA basketball team...

This interview was conducted last Thursday at UCLA Basketball Media Day. It was actually Ryan Hollins' 18th birthday.

How did your commitment to UCLA happen?

"After I got out of my Letter of Intent to St. Louis, I got in contact with Coach Lavin. I couldn't contact them before. Before I signed with St. Louis I didn't hear anything from them. But then they came around. I check things out, and it was close to home."

Being from Pasadena, were you a UCLA fan growing up?

"I grew up a die-hard UCLA fan. I always wanted to go there. But it kind of died down and I signed with St. Louis because I didn't get recruited."

Your summer before your senior year, though, you were kind of discovered on the AAUc circuit, right?

"My junior year before that I was hurt. My ankle. But yeah. That's when I started getting recruited."

Then by your senior year you had already committed to St. Louis. After you were let out of your Letter of Intent, did you hear from a lot of schools?

"I didn't get a lot of interest even after I was released from my Letter of Intent because a lot of schools thought I had my mind made up on Washington. UCLA just happened to step in."

So why did you choose UCLA over Washington once Lorenzo Romar had taken the Washington job?

"Basically I'm from California. I took a visit up there and it wasn't the same. It wasn't California. It's nothing like down here. There's a lot of opportunity here, as fas as basketball-wise and everything. Romar's my man but that's just the way it happened."

Growing a UCLA fan, did you think you could play for UCLA?

"I've always had confidence in my game. I thought I could play at UCLA or anywhere in the country. But I guess a lot of programs slept on me. I didn't get the pub that a lot of other players had. But I'm here now."

What do you expect your role will be this year on the team?

"Right now I really don't know. We haven't met with the coaches much. Just little individual workouts. I'll do whatever I can do for us. I mean, who knows? I really can't tell you right now."

Being young and still having a ways to go in your physical development, if you play this year what do you think you have to do to be effective?

"I feel like just playing hard makes a difference. Not everybody plays hard. Basketball is more than just weight and size. You can play hard and use your weight right. I want to get stronger, of course, but I feel if I just play as hard as I can I'll be fine. I think that my athleticism will really help."

What do you want to work on? What do you think you need to improve?

"Probably just experience. Probably just getting used to playing college ball. Getting my footwork down, and getting my shot better. The post-ups, the consistency."

What position do you see yourself as?

"Probably like a mid-post. I don't mind stepping out, I'm comfortable around the perimeter. A mid-post who can step out."

You've played some pick-up games with the team. What are your impressions of the team?

"We have a good team. We have guards, shooters, we have athleticism. We have great leadership in Ray and Jason, and T.J. We just have to put it all together."

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