Jan. 21, 2005
The weekly Q-and-A returns in the second semester as the athletic department features sophomore basketball guard Jared Dudley. He scored 25 of his 36 points in the first half during Wednesday evening's 67-66 victory over Villanova. Dudley, who hails from San Diego, is averaging 16.0 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game this season and leads the team with 23 steals. Boston College is currently ranked ninth in the nation and at 15-0, is one of four remaining unbeaten Division I teams.
Q: This team has shown it can come back from any deficit and win a close game that can go either way. What's your mentality when the game is on the line in a pressure situation?
A: It's about the execution and listening to what the coaches say. Even if you don't really agree with it, you have to trust them and the decisions they are going to make. At the end of the game, we buckle up in a way that we are really tight defensively. Offensively, we are trying to execute and get the ball down low to Craig, post me up or have someone come off a screen. We just have to execute.
Q: In which areas do you feel the team needs to improve?
A: Defensive pressure in the way of stopping penetration, which we did not do very well [against Villanova]. We turn the ball over too much, and we are being too carefree with the ball. We need to definitely improve our outside shooting and be able to open it up especially against a team's zone. We need to be confident when we shoot the ball.
Q: What has it been like for you, over the past season and a half, to come into this program and have such an immediate impact?
A: This has been a dream come true. I've definitely wanted to do this since I was little. I definitely thought I was capable of doing this. To come to BC from the west coast, I definitely know it's a good experience because you value home so much more but in a way you like it out here. I like what the opportunity presents. It's just really a dream come true.
Q: What does it take for yourself and for the team to stay focused as you travel to play St. John's and Providence over the next seven days?
A: You can be a little cocky, but when it comes down to it everybody has to know what they have to do. People are going to tell you that you're better than what you are. But that's just how it is. You can like it how it is and soak all that up. When it comes down to it, when the ball goes up, you just have to know what you have to do. Everybody knows their role, and everybody does their role fine when it comes down to the end of the day.
Q: The victory over Villanova was viewed by a full house, the second such sell-out this season, yet the first in which classes were in session. Talk about being able to play in front of your fellow students.
A: Oh, that's definitely what college basketball is all about. I think this was the first time really where I've seen such a huge student section not only down below but also up top. I definitely was glad to reward them with a victory and such an exciting game. You know, that will make them want to come out even more. It makes them have a little more pride in their team. When you think about BC sports, you really have hockey and football before basketball. Now, in a way, we're kind of trying to flip that all over and put ourselves up there.
Q: In the win over Villanova, you made two trips to the free throw line in the final minute. Were some of those plays directed to you, or did you want to just make something happen?
A: The first play was designed for me to shoot a three at the top of the key. I was open and caught the ball. I was going to pump fake to see if I could get him in the air, and because he was so much smaller I knew that even if he didn't jump I'd be able to jump over him and shoot the ball. I'm glad he jumped. I jumped into him. I missed my third free throw but I got another opportunity with it. I knew that if I got another opportunity I knew I wasn't going to miss it.
Q: As your team gets more attention locally and nationally, is it any more difficult to keep focused on the task at hand?
A: Oh, it's definitely more difficult. You've got everybody loving you, and you've got people hating on you from different places. But this is what you want. You would rather be this team than be another team looking in. It's definitely going to be hard to stay focused, but we're just trying to keep rolling with it and stay focused when it comes game time and keep preparing.
Q: How would you describe your style of play to somebody who has never seen you play?
A: I'd just say I'm a winner. I'll do anything it takes to win. I don't care if it's scoring 30 or 10 offensive rebounds or 10 assists. You know, everywhere I've gone in my career I've won from high school state championships and it's now my chance to do it here in college. It might not be the prettiest to some people. It gets the job done. I've been hearing I'm a garbage man. I've been hearing whatever you want to call it. You can call me whatever. I think when it comes down to it, I think I'm one of the best players in the Big East. As a unit we just have to improve and keep riding this undefeated season.
Q: What do you most enjoy about playing for Al Skinner?
A: You have the freedom to do what you want. He lets you do what you do best. If you're a good post-up player, he feeds you the ball. With playing time, I don't know of many players in the country who play 39 minutes. He lets you do what you have to do.
Q: The pundits have labeled BC as underrated, considering four starters returned from last year's 24-win season. While you team has exceeded the expectations of such critics, has this team exceeded its own expectations?
A: Before the season, to be honest with you, I didn't think we'd be 15-0. I don't know what team could think they're going to be 15-0, especially in a tough conference. I definitely thought we'd be one of the top teams in the Big East. I definitely thought we'd go above our expectations. I definitely thought we'd crack the top 25 eventually, which we did at the end [of December]. But to say we're going to be a top-10 team in the country and be undefeated, I know you didn't think that would happen, but we are it, and we're here now. It's definitely not a fluke after some of these teams that we have beaten.
Q: Do you have any hobbies or other sports you enjoy playing in any free time, or maybe when the season is not in full swing as it is now?
A: I love football. I'm definitely rooting for the Falcons. I like Michael Vick and so many exciting players. I love to go watch movies. I'm just like any other student at BC. When I have free time, I like to play video games just like anybody else.