Dec. 13, 2004
This week's featured athlete is men's basketball guard Sean Marshall. After the team's first seven games, Marshall has averaged 12.7 points per game and 25.9 minutes per game. He is one of the team's three southern California natives, along with junior Craig Smith and sophomore Jared Dudley.
Q: How satisfied are you with a 7-0 record heading into Sunday's home game versus Yale?
A: I think I was more satisfied with the 5-0 start we had, because in the past two games we came out a little too sluggish. Maybe people have been a little tired, but it's still not a good excuse. We need to come out with more energy for the next four regular-season games. We came out with energy in those first five. We played Clemson and UCLA, and I guess we had something to prove to them because we had heard how they were good teams. We came out against BU and Holy Cross and played like the game was already over.
Q: How has the team been able to adjust to Louis Hinnant's absence as he nurses an injured left ankle?
A: It's hard to go without Louis because he is such a court leader out there. He controls the game when he plays. It's hard with his absence. But Steve Hailey has done a good job controlling the game and running our team. Louis is still doing his job, but he's just doing it from the bench.
Q: Holy Cross battled its way into overtime last Thursday, while Boston University pulled within four in the final minute on Saturday evening. Are you concerned that you were not able to shut down these opponents earlier in the game?
A: Definitely. Coach Skinner has been preaching defense for the past week because we really haven't defended teams as well as we think we should. We go through the scouting report days before the game. We know everybody's strong points and their weaknesses, and we really haven't been defending them for some odd reason, I don't know. Like I said before, it's probably because of that cockiness we have going into games where we already think the game is over.
Q: Against Boston University, you scored 17 points in the first half, while Craig Smith recorded all of his 19 points in the second half. Likewise, Jared Dudley stepped up with six of the team's 10 overtime points against Holy Cross. Talk about this team being able to rely on more than one or two players' contributions.
A: That's big for us because, I mean, everybody keys in on Craig. He's our best player so they key in on him. It's special when you have other players who can step up in Jermaine [Watson], Stevie [Hailey], Bird [Louis Hinnant], myself, Jared [Dudley], and Sean Williams coming in with blocks. It's all about teamwork right there. That's a team for you. A good team doesn't have just one good player. It consists of a good player and a lot of role players every night. We have different players stepping up. So that's going to be big for us down the stretch for our season. We need players to keep stepping up, and we'll just keep pulling out wins.
Q: The 74-64 victory over UCLA in southern California was somewhat of a homecoming trip for you and teammates Craig Smith and Jared Dudley. What was it like to be able to play before your friends and family in Anaheim?
A: It felt just like high school, actually. All my close friends who went to every game when I was in high school were all there. Also, my brother, my mom and dad, and my girlfriend were all there. It was just a special moment for us because we had family and friends that never get to see us play because we are so far away. It was special for us, but I assume it was more special for our family and friends who got to watch us play.
Q: What part of this team's game would you like to see improve the most before Big East play begins on Jan. 5?
A: Definitely, it's defense because when we go into Big East play, defense wins games. You can score all the points you want, but if you can't defend anybody it's going to be harder to pull out a win.
Q: You've talked about how you hope to improve your consistency this season. Are you happy with your improvement thus far?
A: I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I know I struggled against Holy Cross. I was upset about that, but I bounced back against BU and had a decent game and keep hoping to get better. I don't think I've ever been completely satisfied with myself. If you become completely satisfied with yourself you'll never get better. I'm just going to keep working hard to improve more.
Q: Classes wrapped up last week, and today kicks off fall semester finals. How do you balance your basketball commitment with the academic demands? Does this demanding schedule increase your stress level or does basketball provide a relief from the academics?
A: I think this week is just mainly where we have to put all our efforts toward studying on finals. The coaches have helped us by giving us the day off Monday. Practices won't be too tough because they know we have finals so we are working around that schedule. It's time for us to buckle down with school so we can get all that taken care of and then we can take care of the stuff on the court.
Q: What is the biggest difference between your freshman and sophomore seasons? Were there any "lessons learned" that can make your life easier this season - on or off the court?
A: On the court, it's just being more experienced. It's a different kind of feeling going into your sophomore season. You just feel more relaxed because you know what to expect going into the games. It's just a different kind of feeling being more experienced. It just comes a lot easier.
Q: Describe yourself and your game (to someone who has never seen you play).
A: I can say I'm a big guard. I like to shoot, but sometimes I kind of struggle from there. If I'm struggling from the outside I like to get a couple of rebounds here and there. I like to get my mid-range going, which I've worked on a lot. I think I've improved in that area. Sometimes I like to act like I play hard defense. I'm a decent defender but I put on a front that I'm a better defender than I am with my facial expressions to put a little fear in the offensive player's heart. I play with a lot of energy on the court and always encourage my teammates. I'm smiling out there, just trying to have fun. I think I'm just an energy player, and I try to bring a lot of that energy.