Oct. 5, 2011
Chestnut Hill, Mass. -
Freshman center Dennis Clifford sat down with media relations assistant and BC sophomore Matt Moran and offered some thoughts on his short time on campus, on his coach, and on the season ahead. The 7-foot Clifford, who hails from Bridgewater, Mass., figures to make an immediate impact on the court.
Q: How challenging has the adjustment to college life been?
A: It hasn't been as challenging as you would think because I came from a prep school in New England and my coach (Lamar Reddicks) really prepared me well for what I've been up against so far. But it's definitely a lot more time management. In a way I just walked through high school, but now that I'm on my own it's a pretty big challenge to do even little things like getting everywhere on time.
Q: Has it been difficult to balance your day - between workouts, classes and studying?
A: It hasn't been too difficult. We lift weights and practice at more or less the same time, so I set up my classes so that I'm usually done in the mornings. That way I have time to study before practice, or after if I need to.
Q: What have the coaches stressed to you most so far?
A: One thing that the coaches have really stressed is stepping up, because we don't have enough time to make mistakes this season. Having a lot of freshman on the team, we don't have a lot of room for error. So they are definitely emphasizing the need to step up. We have to be more mature than the other freshmen in the league.
Q: Have you and the other freshmen done a lot to get to know each other?
A: Yes, definitely. We've spent most of our time together so far. Over the summer, during session two, we all lived together, so that was definitely a good experience that really brought us all closer.
Q: How challenging has it been to come in with so many new players?
A: I don't think it's too much of a challenge; it's more of a challenge for us as a team than for me individually. For me, I know that we have a lot of young players, so I have to step up and be a leader more so than if I were just one of a few freshmen. But it's definitely going to be a challenge for all of us to make a difference on the team this year.
Q: What are your expectations this season - for yourself and for the team?
A: For myself, I expect to contribute and to be a leader-figure on the team. For the team, we want to win a lot of games, and I think we're going to do that.
Q: What are your impressions of Coach Donahue - both on and off the court?
A: On the court, Coach Donahue is like a genius. He always seems to say the right stuff in practice and he's really a great leader out there, through the drills and through the offensive sets. It's really been a pleasure working with him so far and I can't wait for the season. Off the court he's also a great guy to be around. He's always having fun but also being serious at the same time.
Q: Can you offer any insight into the team, maybe a player (or players) who might surprise us?
A: I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by every one of us. We have a lot of leadership from the older guys, which might surprise everybody, from Matt Humphrey, to Gabe (Moton), Danny (Rubin) and Pete (Rehnquist). I think what will surprise people is the amount of talent we have in the freshman class. We have a lot of guys who can step up and play.
Q: Who is your roommate and what insight can you give us into him?
A: My roommate is Ryan Kilcullen and I've been with him for the past five years. We played AAU together for a long time. He's a great kid and we always seem to be on the same page. We both like to eat healthy and we both like to get to bed early. It's been great so far.
Q: What excites you the most about this season?
A: I just can't wait to play with the guys on the team, against an opponent. We've been playing a lot of pick-up, but I really just can't wait for the first time that we play together. I'm even excited for the scrimmages.
Q: What do you enjoy most about Boston College so far? Please explain.
A: Well obviously the basketball part. Off the court, it's probably the community here. You walk around and you see everyone wearing BC gear, Boston College sweatshirts or jackets, whatever it is. People really seem to love it here, and I really like that.
-Interview by sophomore Matt Moran