Dan Cage: Well, I do what I'm called upon to do. On this team I'm called not only to take the open looks, but I'm also called to rebound and distribute the ball and play defense, things like that. I take pride in doing those things I'm called upon to do. And when I'm asked to take the shots, I take the shots. For my high school team I was leading scorer, but for this team I'm just one of many scoring threats. I just try to do whatever I can to help the team win.
VM: You looked like you had a lot of confidence shooting out there from 3-point range.
Dan: Yeah, I do. I've been really working hard. I know that's what Vanderbilt is looking for me to do. I've talked to Coach Stallings, and he's looking for me to be a serious outside threat. So I've been working on my game and really working on my quickness, and getting open so I can hit those open looks.
VM: You set some pretty good screens tonight too.
Dan: Yeah. I lift a lot. I need to get a big body so that in the SEC I'm able to push some guys around. I try to do all the little things. Anything to get my teammates open, because hopefully if I get them open, they'll get me open.
VM: Talk about how your summer has gone thus far. You've had a lot going on... you graduated, then you played for the Indiana All-Stars... and then tell me what's ahead for you.
Dan: Well, we graduated, and then about three days later I was packing [for the All-Star games], lifting weights, shooting around, things like that. Then after this is over, I've got about 11 days where I'm going to have to start getting to the track and the gym, really trying to prepare myself. Because on July 4 or 5 I go down to Vanderbilt to start training with them and take two summer classes, and get prepared to move on to the next stage of my life-- and hopefully help Vanderbilt climb to the top of the SEC.
VM: Talk about what happened to you with St. Bonaventure. That had to be kind of a tough thing to go through, but now, are you looking at it as though it's all for the good?
Dan: Right, I'm very grateful for what's happened. I mean, God works in mysterious ways, and I think he just laid this in my lap. St. Bonaventure is a great school, good basketball program. I liked the coach. I liked the guys there. Unfortunately some decisions were made, and it was an unfortunate situation. Now I'm just thankful that I was able to get myself out of that situation, and end up at a place as great as Vanderbilt.
VM: In the spring when you were trying to decide what to do, Coach Stallings came up to Indianapolis from Nashville just to look you over. Talk about what that was like.
Dan: It was great-- great to meet Coach Stallings and hear what he had to say. He had some great stories. We talked basketball-- he talked X's and O's with me, and I loved sitting down and talking strategy about the game, things like that. It was fun just to meet him. I was able to work out for him. A couple of weeks later he asked me to come down and take a visit.
VM: Tell me how your visit went.
Dan: All the coaches were great. I loved meeting some of the guys... Matt Freije, some of those guys were really nice. They're great players, and it made me really excited to want to go there. I loved the campus. I loved the academic reputation. It seemed like they take care of their athletes. I'm really excited about going there.
VM: At what point along the way did they say, we want you at Vanderbilt?
Dan: At the end of the visit I sat down in Coach Stallings' office, and he told me that they were prepared to offer me, but they couldn't because of some legal paperwork that still had to be filed. I don't really know all the logistics of it-- stuff with the clearinghouse and getting my eligibility back. He said if they got that taken care of in the next so many days, they would offer me a scholarship. Luckily I was able to get that taken care of, and I'm thankful everything worked out.
VM: What did Coach Stallings talk about as your role on the team? You mentioned shooting... do you think you'll probably wind up as a 2-guard there?
Dan: You know, I don't really know. I think he's got more of a 2, or 2-slash-3 in mind for me. And definitely I would like to shoot from the outside, be able to be an outside scoring threat to open up things for the other players. I think he really emphasizes defense. I need to work on my quickness and my jumping ability so that I can stick with some of the horses that are in the SEC. I'm excited about getting better, working hard and things like that, so that I can become a very good player.
Editor's Note: Cage scored 11 points in only 14 minutes of play in the June 18 game vs. the Junior Boys All-Stars, including 3-of-4 from 3-point distance. Cage was also a key contributor in the Indiana All-Stars' two-game sweep over the Kentucky High School All-Stars June 14 and 21. Over the three exhibition games the 6-foot-5 Cage averaged 8.3 points in 15 minutes of play. Even more impressive was his 3-point shooting: 7-of-11 in the three games, for 64%.
Photos for VandyMania by Brent Wiseman.