Foster: Commodores' play to be more physical

Last week sophomore guard Shan Foster represented Vanderbilt at SEC Media Days, and answered a series of questions posed by newspapermen from around the South. In Part I, Foster answers questions regarding the team's mindset and goals, as well as some expected changes to the team's style of play.


Q: Do you feel like Vanderbilt is in a position this year to finish ahead of teams like Kentucky and Florida?

A: Definitely. I think our program this year has a chance to be as good as anybody's. I feel like as long as we're working as hard as we've been working, anything is possible.

Q: Is it fair to say that you were kind of a surprise in the league last year?

A: Well, it was kind of a surprise to myself too. I've always been a hard worker, but as the season progressed last year, I began to feel more comfortable in the offense. Things just started to work out for me.

Q: Coach Stallings was saying it's really nice that people are asking him about contending for a change. Is it kind of nice that you have those expectations?

A: Definitely. I think in past years we haven't been really able to talk about winning a championship. But this year we feel like we have a very special group of guys that are coming out there to give their best every night. I think we have a pretty good chance of making it happen.

Q: Do you like the fact that you all are going to be more physical this year?

A: Definitely. I love it. We're going to be more physical. We're going to push the ball more. It's going to be a different type of atmosphere.

Q: When Kevin recruited you, did he talk about wanting to play more that way? I'm sure you had grown up seeing them play perimeter ball, gunning it from all over the place...

A: Actually, it was one of the questions I asked before I even thought about coming here. I had never heard of Vanderbilt before, ever. When I asked him what style of ball he played, that was one of the things he mentioned-- we want to start pushing the ball. We're going to start running faster than we've ever run. We've definitely implemented a lot of those things in practice now.

Q: What makes you think you guys can beat the Kentuckys, the Floridas, the Alabamas, and have a chance to win it all? What's different about Vanderbilt?

A: I think our team chemistry is a lot better this year, and our work ethic. We believe in each other. We believe in our coaching staff. We believe if we work hard, anything is possible.

Q: Is it important having guys like Mario, Julian and Dan who went to the Sweet 16 two years ago to show you guys how you get back there?

A: Definitely. They talk to us about that all the time. Those are the guys that we look to for leadership. Just the fact that they've been there before, they're going to be more comfortable in that situation.

Q: When you played against Rajon Rondo back in ABCD camp, was he as feisty as he is now? Did he show his emotions as much, you know, come up behind guys making steals? A guy who's always wanting to do something to help his team win?

A: Oh yeah, he's always played with tremendous emotion, a great competitor. Even back then, in ABCD camp where games don't mean as much, he was always going hard trying to win. That was his thing. He wanted to win, whatever the cost.

Q: Would you say you enjoy playing against him, or dread playing against him?

A: I enjoy it. Rondo's one of those guys that is going to make you better. Whether you beat him or he beats you, you're going to get better by playing against him.

Q: Any other guys in the league that you feel like you enjoy playing against?

A: I enjoy playing against Glenn Davis. I played on the same team with him, the New Orleans Jazz, not too long ago. He's the same way. I think a lot of people might look at him and say, he might not be a great player because he's so big. He uses his body very well... I think he has the best footwork I've ever seen in my life. I'm sure there are a lot of others.

Q: Is there any guy you just hated playing against?

A: Anthony Roberson.

Q: Really? Why?

A: 'Cause, he made everything! I don't know if it was just an itch against Vanderbilt or what, but it was just like, no matter who was guarding him, you could have your hand on his face, and he was making the shot regardless. He's one of those guys that are going to make you guard him. He's going to make your defense better.

Q: How did your family come through the hurricane? Did they get relocated?

A: They moved to Baton Rouge and got an apartment up there. My house was damaged pretty badly. The roof fell in, the front and back yard were messed up pretty badly. We had three feet of water in the house. I was just glad that everybody in my family got out, and they're still living. So, we're blessed.

Q: Being in Nashville, were you able to keep up with them when that was going on?

A: There was a period of time when I couldn't get in touch with them. I struggled a little bit with that, because I usually talk with my Mom every day, and my grandmother once or twice a week. That was hard for me, but once I found out everybody was OK, I was fine.


Photos by Whitney D. for

In Part II, Foster talks about his own NBA aspirations, Julian Terrell's comeback after a season of grief, and Foster's candid impressions of the team's newcomers.

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