Andrew Tie, Brian Geisinger and Jim Young were at the ACC's recent Operation Basketball media event, talking to tons of players and coaches. During the course of the preseason, we'll be posting the Q&As they gathered.
In this edition of Q&A, we catch up with Ben Emelogu of Virginia Tech.
Did you get to watch them a whole lot last year?
I caught a couple of games, but most of the times I was having games during the time they were having games with the different time zones.
What did you see during those games?
I saw a potentially good team that was missing bodies. They had good pieces, but they didn’t have the numbers. This year we have the numbers, so it’s going to be exciting to see what we can do.
Conditioning is such a huge part of getting up and down the floor. Is this team in good shape?
We’re in very good shape right now. We worked hard all offseason getting in shape, running a lot, getting on the track, so we’re prepared to play the style that we want to play.
The fact that you were named a captain. The fact that coach didn’t name Jarrell Eddie a captain. Jarrell’s not here. Is he trying to send a message to the older guys?
I’m not sure. It’s coach’s decision. I’m just here and doing what he asked me to do.
As a captain, are you getting a vibe from the other guys that they’re surprised at the way Jarrell’s being treated?
I think the team has embraced it. Even Jarrell has embraced it, looking forward and nobody’s taking it as coach is trying to send a message. We have one common goal this year, and we’re trying to reach that.
Are the big guys ready to get up and down the floor like you’re going to try to?
They’re getting very good running the floor. They’re finishing with dunks, so we’re looking very good in practice.
Is it awkward coming in as a freshman and being a captain and trying not to step on any toes?
Not at all. I feel like the team has helped me embrace it and welcomed me into that position. I’m getting comfortable each day leading my team. It’s the way I’ve been raised by my mom. Most teams I’ve been on, I’ve been a leader. Coach always said I had those natural leader qualities, so I guess I fit right in.
When did they break it to you that you were coming to this event?
A couple of days ago. I was kind of shocked, but I had a feeling I was going to go because he named me captain.
It’s got to feel like a lot is being thrust on you really quickly. Is it daunting at all?
Not at all. I might feel like that sometimes, but my teammates remind me that it’s an honor, and I’m learning to embrace it and take each day by leading my team…taking that role of having the team on my back. Remind my team that they picked us last, and we have to come out and prove everybody wrong.
What do you bring to the table as far as on the court skills?
I’m going to try to help the team in the best way that I can. I mix it up. I try to keep the defense on their toes, whether it’s coming off screens or going to the basket and finishing. I pull up off the dribble in the mid-range. I try to do a little bit of everything and help my team get the W.
When you come into the program as a freshman, and you’re a captain, does that say something about the stability of the program?
No, not at all. I feel like I’m able to take the responsibility, and I feel like coach has a lot of confidence in me. I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.
Do you feel confident at the 2 and the 3?
I don’t have a particular spot I want to play in. Wherever I can help the team and get the job done.
How does a Texas guy end up in the ACC?
I always looked at the ACC as the best conference in basketball and me being the player and competitor I am, I wanted to play against the best. When Virginia Tech offered me, it was my opportunity to play against the best, so I took it.