Freshman guard/forward Jason Holwerda has played in all 14 games for the Vanderbilt men's team, and is starting to see increased playing time as SEC play begins. On the season he's averaging 2.9 points and 1.4 assists in 12.5 minutes per game.
Holwerda talked with VandyMania about his experiences thus far as a Commodore.
VandyMania: You played quite a bit in the games against Morehead State and Georgia. It seems like you're starting to get more and more playing time as the season goes on.
Jason: Yeah, Coach put me in early against Georgia. I think he's getting more and more confidence in me. I've been playing more and more aggressively in practice, and I think he sees that, and he's rewarding me for it. I'm just going out there trying to be aggressive, trying to do things I know I can do.
VM: You've got to be very pleased with the playing time you're getting.
Jason: Well, to tell you the truth, it's not that big a deal to me. It's wins and losses... whether I'm playing 5 minutes or playing 30 minutes, you know? If we're winning, I'm happy... if we're losing, it's a different story. I'm really not complaining or happy about playing time. I just want to get wins.
VM: You're a freshman and I'm sure still going through a lot of the transition from high school. Talk about the adjustments that you've had to make-- both in school, and between the level of play in high school and college.
Jason: Well, school's definitely been a transition at Vanderbilt, you know, one of the elite academic schools in the country. So in that regard, I've spent a lot more time studying. It takes a lot more discipline since I'm on my own now... I don't have my parents telling me to go study! On the basketball court, every player's just as good as you. In high school, you know, you could get away with mistakes here and there, but mistakes are maximized on this level. The players that we're going against night in and night out are going to be the top-notch performers. Then you've got the crowds going against you, like at Georgia. In high school you had two or three fans going against you-- here, you've got whole student sections making it really intimidating. But hey, that's just to be expected from college basketball.
VM: What do you see as your role on this team right now... and what would you like to see it evolve into?
Jason: Right now I think I'm just a spark off the bench. Maybe hit a few shots, or maybe make a few big plays defensively, or passes... just solid basketball as long as I'm in there. In the future I just hope to continue doing what I'm doing right now... more scoring... well, really more of everything. Better defense, and so on.
VM: Losing at Georgia had to be a big disappointment for the team. You've had a little taste of what the SEC and the road is like now... what can you find from that loss to Georgia that you can build on?
Jason: I think we played scared at first. I mean, that was really evident. We were really off-- nobody was hitting shots, and we couldn't really get anything offensively flowing. But the thing is, with six minutes left in the game we were still in it, and that should give us a lot of confidence. If we just step it up on defense and rebounds, you know, the offense will come, and we'll start to hang in games.