INTERVIEW: Darshawn McClellan

Last week we published our exclusive interview with Brad Tinsley. Today we make available our interview with senior forward Darshawn McClellan.

Don Yates: How did your summer go?
Darshawn McClellan: It went well. I came in with a new attitude, ready to work really hard. I lost a couple pounds, trimmed down and looking pretty good if I could say so myself.

DY: What are some of the things you were trying to work on, I know you said you lost a couple pounds, was there anything in particular you worked on or trips you went on for school, anything like that?
DM: I just wanted to come back in the best condition and shape that I could possibly be in. I think that was a knock on me in the past years, a little bit. I also worked on my shot a little bit more to re-form that and become more consistent with that.

DY: So you going to take John's spot now?
DM: No, (laughs) I can't take John's spot now, John doesn't miss, but hopefully I can knock down a couple of shots.

DY: What's your current height and weight?
DM: I'm about 6-7 and 231.

DY: After that stunning loss to Murray State in the NCAA, what do you think the mood is of the team heading into the upcoming season?
DM: It was definitely down at that but we came back this summer and we all got back to work and we said we are not going to set artificial limitations on ourselves. This year I think everybody is hungry and you can see it in everyone's body. This summer we put in major, major work and everyone looks great.

DY: How do you think this team is going to replace its top two scorers and top rebounder?
DM: It's hard to replace those two guys but I think we can do that with Festus stepping up and the athleticism that we're bringing in with the freshmen and the guys we already had, we have a good corps group of guys still here. I think we'll be fine.

DY: Other than Festus, who do we have here that can play in the post position?
DM: You have the freshman Josh Henderson and you also have Steve Tchiengang who has a huge body and can go down there and bang; he's not afraid to be physical.

DY: Glancing at the upcoming schedule you guys have non-conference opponents like Missouri, Nebraska, Marquette, Davidson and Western Kentucky. What are your feelings on playing such a tough non-conference schedule?
DM: Our non-conference schedule is always pretty tough. This year I think we are just going to have to be ready earlier than usual. We usually have a tougher schedule in the latter of our season but it's going to come at us fast starting off with Puerto Rico and a couple of the preseason games.

DY: These pickup games you guys do during the offseason; who are some of the freshmen that you think could make an impact during the upcoming season?
DM: To be honest all four of them have been playing excellent but I really like all of them to step up but if I had to choose some I would say Kyle and Rod because just them coming in early, they came in earlier than the other two, since then they've just put in the extra time and work. They look good right now, like they've been here before so hopefully they can step up.

DY: What are some of the things the coaches told you to work on during the offseason?
DM: One being my condition. Last year I didn't get an opportunity to play much that much so I kind of got out of shape toward the latter of the season. They wanted me to work on my conditioning and my shot and more polished offensive game which I feel that I have done this summer.

DY: Wasn't it like your freshmen or sophomore year, I know you went up to Kentucky and you started didn't you?
DM: Yes.

DY: And Vanderbilt beat Kentucky on the road so we certainly know that you have great potential. Thanks Darshawn.

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