VandyMania Interview: Matt Freije (Part 2)

As Matt Freije and his two fellow seniors prepare for their senior year, there's a "sense of urgency" about getting ready for their final collegiate season. After a recent afternoon workout session, Vandy's All-America candidate discussed that sense of urgency, the team's upcoming trip abroad, and the progress of big men Julian Terrell and Ted Skuchas. (Part 2 of 2)

VandyMania: Have you been taking classes [this summer]?

Matt Freije: Yeah, I took a May class and a June class. I just signed up for my July class today [July 7].

VM: You said [the team is] going to Spain?

Matt: Yes.

VM: When do you leave?

Matt: I think August 13.

VM: Have you heard anything about your itinerary?

Matt: No, I just know that we're going to be over there and in the Canary Islands. That's all I know.

VM: You're going to play games in the Canary Islands?

Matt: Yeah. I don't know how many games we're playing, or who we're playing or anything. I just know we get to go, so I'm pretty excited. I think the whole team is really excited. It'll be a good chance for us to all experience something together and have a lot of fun.

VM: You get extra practices before you go, don't you?

Matt: Yeah, you get a few.

VM: This year you're going to be a senior. How does it feel going into your senior year? Does it change how you look at the summer? Do you look at the summer differently than the other years that you've been here?

Matt: Yeah, it makes me look at the summer completely differently. After my freshman year, I was pretty homesick, and I went home and stayed the entire summer at home. And my sophomore year, I spent here, but I feel like I'm working a lot harder this summer than last, just because I feel more of a sense of urgency to do something.

VM: Do you think that sense of urgency comes in part from some of the frustrations and adversity from last season?

Matt: Yeah, I think a lot of it has to do with that. I mean, from the end of the Kentucky game in the SEC tournament, I just made up my mind that I was going to work harder this summer than any other summer, and the coaches have always been on me to "put more weight on, put more weight on." And that this summer I'd actually do it, instead of talking about it, I'd actually do it, and I'd come out a lot bigger my senior year than I have my first three.  And also I knew that I had to get other guys on the team to be bigger, so that they play more physical. It just makes it a lot easier to do that knowing that you only have one more year left, and if you don't do it now, it's not going to get done. So it just makes it a lot easier to work hard, lead by example, and encourage other guys -- and to get on other guys when they're not doing what they're supposed to.

VM: From what I saw in the weight room, do you and Julian [Terrell] work together a lot?

Matt: Yeah, Julian's my lifting partner. He's been my lifting partner since the end of the season, and he's made the biggest strides of anybody. He's lifting the same weight as I am, and it's taken me four years to get to where I am, and it's taken him two. Especially since the end of the season, he's been working extremely hard, and you can see it. He looks a lot bigger than he was. He's put on 20 pounds. If he can stay focused, and I can help him stay focused, he's going to have an even more amazing summer and even a better sophomore year, and that's what we need from him. We need him to be a big factor for us next year.

VM: Another name that gets mentioned is Ted Skuchas. Is there anything you can tell us about him?

Matt: Yeah, Ted's been working really hard. He's come a long way since he got in here. He's been working on his game a lot. He's worked on his jumper. He's a good presence on defense in the post. He's tall, he's real long. He's going to do well for us. He'll be good. He sat out a whole year; he knows what's going on. He's ready to play. I think last year was real frustrating for him. He's been kind of chomping at the bit to be able to give something to the team, and I think he's ready to.


To read Part 1 of this interview, click here.

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