Saturday, May 10, 2008

Q & A with A.J. Ogilvy

After finishing his freshman campaign at Vanderbilt, center A.J. Ogilvy returned home to Australia, where he kindly answered some questions from the Sports VU about a number of topics, including his summer plans, Festus Ezeli and the weirdest thing about Americans.

SV: Some Websites say that you could have been a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. What factors led to you to come back for your sophomore season?
To tell you the truth it wasn't even really a decision I made, I didn't even think about leaving Vanderbilt. So I will definitely be back next year!

SV: What are your plans for the summer in terms of basketball? Excited to go back home? I'm sure it's been tough at times being so far away.
Coming back home was amazing, it was awesome to see my family and friends again. Basketball-wise im working out with the Australian National team and trialing for a spot on the Olympic team, so thats really exciting. (Read more about this in his Q & A with The Nashville City Paper.)

SV: How would you evaluate your first SEC season? What do you think were your strengths and weaknesses?
Obviously I wasn't as consistent as I would have liked to have been through the SEC season but I thought I had some good games. My strength is definitely my ability to play off the dribble and take bigger post guys outside and work them, weakness at the moment my post defence it's something that I really need to work on.

SV: Who was the toughest player to guard? What was the toughest place to play? What was the season highlight?
Toughest player to guard was probably Patrick Patterson, he is a great player. Rupp Arena was the hardest place to play in and the one thing from the season that stands out to me in Shan dropping 42 on Senior Night. Pick any of his shots from that game and you have a season highlight

SV: What areas of your game are you working on most this off-season?
Im really working on my jump shot and trying to extend my range, also working a lot on my fitness.

SV: I know that you and Keegan are really close. What was your reaction when he told you he was transferring?
Yeah me and Keegan were really close. I was disappointed when I found out but not surprised. Obviously it has been announced now that he is going to UTC and I wish him all the best.

SV: How would you rate your first-year at Vanderbilt -- the classes, the city, the fans, parties, etc.? What's the biggest difference between here and Australia? What's the weirdest thing about the U.S.?
I had a great first fear, it was amazing fun... the people, the games, teammates, fans, parties, all of it i just loved it. I can't wait for next year. The biggest difference is that the legal drinking age in Australia is 18, so that took some adjustment and the weirdest thing about the US is that you guys drive on the wrong side of the road.

SV: Vanderbilt just signed two more recruits in Jeff Taylor and Brad Tinsley. Did you say anything to convince them to come to Vandy?
AO: They are going to be valuable contributors to our team next year. I told them what everybody already know, we have a great program with great coaches and even better players. We truly are a family and it makes the transition process a lot easier.

SV:Have you gotten to play with them at all on their visits, and if so, what are their games like?
I played with Brad for a little while, he is a sort of do it all point guard. He is a great passer, he is athletic and has good vision. He is also a prolific scorer with a great stroke. I didn't get the chance to play with Jeff though.

SV:You guys already have a couple of great guys coming in in Lance and Steve. How excited are you for them to get here?
I cant wait for the guys to get in and for us to start building towards another great year! Lance and Steve are both excellent players and are gonna improve our team.

SV: Most Vanderbilt fans don't know much about the guy who guarded you in practice every day, Festus. What's he like as a player and how much are you looking forward to seeing him out on the court next year?
Festus was very raw at the beginning of the year but he got better every single day! Vanderbilt fans should be really excited because Festus is long and athletic and is bound to make some highlights on both ends of the floor! I can't wait for Fes to get out there with us, I've seen all the work he put in this year and I can't wait to be there when it begins to pay off.

SV: How much has the way the season ended motivated you to be an even better team next fall?
As a team we havent talked about it much, but i know as individuals we have all thought about it. For me it's what I've been using as motivation when working out since the end of the season, I don't want another great year to end the way last year did so once we get together as a team that will be one of the first things we discuss, how we can make up for last year.

Thanks so much for your time, A.J. Best of luck in your Olympic Trials and we'll see you back here in the fall.

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