Q&A with Alando Tucker

Badger Nation catches up with 6-5, 195-pound freshman Alando Tucker from Lockport Township (Ill.) as the Badgers prepare to open up their exhibition season Wednesday night at the Kohl Center. Look for Badger Nation's basketball preview issue to hit your mailboxes and newsstands later this month.

Badger Nation: How are you doing getting adjusted? Are things going well so far?

Tucker: Yeah so far they have. The first week is probably the hardest. After conditioning and everything, your body adjusts to the hard play. After that's over, you get the first week of practice. That's the breaking point right there, getting broken into practice. And then after that it's pretty much just a learning stage. But as far as the physical (aspect), you have to be physically strong. You have to be strong enough. That's basically the first week. You have to get adjusted to practicing three hours a day, six days a week. After that, it's pretty much a learning stage.

BN: Is it a huge step up for you, playing against these guys every day?

Tucker: Oh, most definitely. It's a big step up, mostly on the physical side. It's just everything. The guys are bigger, stronger, faster and quicker than any high school player you've played against, and there's more discipline. It's more set…in high school, it's like, okay, you have some great player so you go to him all the time. But everybody in college is disciplined and listens to the coach, and has set plays for them.

BN: Do you have a feeling on how you will be used this season?

Tucker: Well right now, it's just get in there and do whatever I can, play however many positions I can, take whatever ability I have and try to make this team better. I don't know how I'm going to do that, but I have a good feeling that I should be able to help this team out a lot.

BN: Do you have a sense of what position you will play down the road?

Tucker: Yeah, once I get my shot back, it's probably the 2-3 spot, that is a good position for me down the road. But right now it's just fitting in wherever, whatever position. But I see myself as a 2-3 position once I get my shot back.

BN: So you still are working on getting your shot back?

Tucker: A little bit. It's coming along, with the lifting weights and it's just a part of everything with maturing. And I'm coming back from a broken hand. I'm trying to come back. I broke my hand in the summer, senior summer basically. I broke my hand right after a couple of all-star games, so I'm trying to come back.

BN: So you couldn't practice much this summer?

Tucker: Well actually, it was in May, so I had a couple of months to adjust, then got up here in the summertime and started lifting and things, so it's coming back.

BN: Have any of the older guys taken you under their wing and helped you along?

Tucker: Well all the older guys push you. They all show you things, along with the coaches. They will all take you to the side. It's all of them. Everybody. Every older player, every veteran will pull you aside and let you know if you're doing something wrong or doing something good, so that's what I like about it.

BN: Did you feel like, with all of the extra conditioning in the offseason and the stuff you have to go through when you first get here, was it a struggle just to get onto the floor? That had to be the most grueling conditioning you've gone through.

Tucker: That's basically that first couple of weeks. That's when you start to realize like it's not a game, every little thing counts. Being on time for meetings, to being on time for weightlifting. When you're in the weight room, lift hard, when you're on the practice court, play hard. It's everything. The coaches put that in when you come here in the summer, and when you're on the court the first couple of weeks.

BN: This is a highly-touted recruiting class coming in. Has anybody really impressed you so far?

Tucker: Yeah, John Emerson. He's really got a shot. During the beginning of the year, I was wondering what he had. Then he got on the court and he has a nice shot., a nice shot. He's impressed me (the most).

BN: How are Devin Harris and Kirk Penney looking? Both of them look better this year.

Tucker: Yeah, definitely…I came over here and started getting in with those guys. You see the leader roles that they play already. Kirk is a great leader. He shows me a lot, and shows other guys a lot and shows what it takes to be a leader because he works hard in the weight room, works hard on the court, works hard at everything, classroom…he shows us exactly what I leader is.

BN: How is life on campus going for you?

Tucker: Oh campus is great. There are 40,000-plus students here, so you meet so many different people. You meet a variety of cultures and groups. It's been great so far.

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