Oct. 18, 2005
Men's basketball senior Louis Hinnant has played in 90 games over three years at Boston College and looks to lead the Eagles in their first season in the ACC. The Eagles have registered a 68-27 record over the last three seasons and welcome four newcomers to the team this fall. Boston College opens the season at home against Dartmouth on Friday, Nov. 18.
Q: Your team had its first formal practice session last Friday evening. What can you tell me about the first several days of practice?
A: Pretty much, these practices are meant to get the team concepts down,. We're just learning the basic plays and things like that. There are a lot of conditioning things, and we're trying to get everyone acquainted with the team philosophy. For the guys that have been here, we're just trying to get back into the flow of things.
Q: Talk about the four newcomers - Marquez Haynes, Evan Neisler, Tyrese Rice and Tyrelle Blair. Can you share one or two thoughts on each player?
A: Tyrese and Marquez are both small and quick guards. They're both pretty explosive off the dribble. They bring some of the speed to the game that we haven't really had, in that sense, since I've been here. With Evan, he just works really hard. He's a tall, lanky wing man. He works really hard and is always around the ball. He's a pretty good defender. Tyrelle is tall and blocks a lot of shots. He's really good around the basket, and he has a nice touch. Obviously, he's going to have to sit out for a year because of his transfer, but I think he should be a pretty good addition to the team next year.
Q: Which players have impressed you with their improvement since last season?
A: I'm going to go with Akida McLain. He didn't get a lot of time last year. But since early last season we all knew that he could score pretty well around the basket. He's continued that. Obviously, with a year under his belt, he feels a lot more comfortable in our offense. Over the preseason, when we were playing pick-up basketball and things like that, he was doing a really good job. He can now bring that into our practices. That also brings to mind John Oates, because he has made a tremendous turnaround. He's a lot more confident. I think that he is really going to surprise a lot of people this year who maybe didn't expect a lot out of him.
Q: How did you spend your summer, and what did you do to get ready for the basketball season?
A: For the most part, I just spent the summer lifting weights and trying to get stronger and faster. I was trying to stay as healthy as possible. It's been well documented that I've had a lot of ankle injuries, so I've been trying to strengthen that as much as possible. Unfortunately, I've already had an ankle injury, but that's something small, and I should be able to knock that out in the next couple of days.
Q: Going into your final season, and your first year in the ACC, what aspirations do you have?
A: My goal is pretty much the same goal every year - to win the regular-season championship, to go to the ACC Tournament and win that, and then to carry that over to the NCAA Tournament. Since I've been here, we've haven't been able to get past the second round of the NCAA Tournament. So, I'd want to go really, really far in my last year at BC. That goes as well as for all the seniors on the team - myself, Craig, Tyler and Ted. We all have the same goals, and we're all working hard. We just want to take this team as far as we can.
Q: With the move to the ACC, you're facing some teams that Boston College has not played in a while, or at least not on a regular basis. What does that "newness" mean to you?
A: It's kind of funny - I'm not sure if anybody looks at it the way I do. We're going to the ACC, but at the same time, I feel that we are also sort of representing the Big East for just this one year. Outside of ourselves, there are a lot of people who are wondering what the difference is between the two conferences. They ask questions like "Are we ready for the ACC?" For us, coming from the Big East, we have played just as much of the top competition as we are going to see in the ACC. We also have to show that we can compete in the ACC. The Big East is no pushover. We had been there for many years and, obviously, we feel that we showed talent there. But, like I said, the Big East is no pushover. There's a lot of competition there, and it's really not a step down from the ACC.
Q: Are there any teams or venues/players, in particular, which you are already excited to face?
A: I'm excited to go to Maryland. I'm from Maryland, and I know a lot of the kids on their team. We've played together over the summer. We've played in the same summer leagues when I'm at home. We played against each other in high school, those of us from the same hometown area. Some of those kids were on my team for AAU ball and things like that. I'm just looking forward to that. Obviously, all of my friends and family will get a chance to see me play. I think that's going to be fun. With Maryland being our first ACC game, we have a lot to prove. It should be a fun game for everybody.
Q: This team seems to have a great deal of motivation heading into the 2005-06 campaign. Just how motivated is this team to make a name for itself in the ACC?
A: I think that with the build-up of our team, regardless of where we are, we are always motivated. It's no secret that none of these players were the most highly-recruited guys or anything like that. I think that carries over, no matter how much success you have as a team. Guys are always working hard. Over the off-season, more guys have cooperated with having night workouts after night classes. We're coming in and working out with each other. That comes from the fact that we understand that maybe, talent-wise, we aren't the best team in the country. But, I think when it comes down to those 40 minutes, it's all about who outworks who. That's just the mentality that every player has when they come into a situation like this.
Q: Having opened the 2004-05 season with 20 consecutive wins before winning a share of the Big East regular-season title, how do you handle the challenge of being so highly-ranked and having that "bulls-eye" on your back?
A: That's pretty easy with the way we finished last year. We started off 20-0, and everybody wants to just have another good start and finish strongly, as well. We went out 20-0 and finished out the rest of the season 5-5, which is just mediocre. I think we're just focused on getting that strong start, because we are confident that we can have a similar start. I'm not saying that we are going to go 20-0 again, because that's just about unheard of. But, I'm saying that we can go out and have a good start. We also have to be that focused down the stretch, and we have to become better as the season goes along. We can't peak too early. That's what keeps driving us. That's why guys work hard in the weight room, so that their bodies don't break down and we don't get mentally or physically tired at the end of the season.
Q: Looking back at your three years at Boston College, up to this point, what part of your time at the Heights makes you most proud?
A: It's just the people you meet. Obviously, [as a basketball player] you come here for basketball, for an education, and for things like that. But, over the course of time, it's about the roommates that you live with, the people that you meet in the athletics program and the students here at Boston College. At a university like this, you know that somebody is going to be that next great person in society. It's just good to be able to affiliate yourself with some of the brightest kids in the country. The relationships that you have and that you grow with and the networking that you do here is just the most important part of my college experience.
Q: Talk about Craig Smith, as a teammate, a classmate and a friend.
A: Craig Smith does a great job, and he's got a great work ethic. He sets the tone for the rest of the team. We have roomed together for every year since we've been here. We know just about everything about each other. With that being said, he's just a great guy. A lot of people think that just because he's big and strong, he must be a mean guy. But he's just about one of the silliest people you'll ever meet. He's always joking around. That's pretty much what I can say about him. He demands a lot from his teammates, but at the same time, he's able to take a humorous approach to the game. He's not always uptight. I think that carries over to the rest of the team in game situations - in those situations when other teams might start tensing up, you'll find that we'll be more relaxed.
Q: Tell people something about yourself - off the court and away from the game of basketball.
A: Losing - I hate to lose. But, away from basketball, I hate to lose video games. A lot of the guys on the team play video games. Whenever we're out of class or if we can get a game in right between classes, we'll do it. A year ago, we had games all set up in the locker room. Right after practice, we'd go straight to the video games. We love to play video games, whether it's Madden football or NBA Live. March Madness just came out. So, everybody is excited to play that because they all want to play as themselves and score 30 points a game. But, that's what is fun off the court - to play video games.
- interview conducted by senior Alex Timiraos