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Q&A With Jamil Tucker

Jamil Tucker is a 6-8 sophomore forward for the Cavaliers. He played his high school basketball at West Side High School in Gary, Ind. Tucker played in 29 games off the bench for Virginia last season and averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds a game. He also made 48.8 percent (21-43) of his three-point field goal attempts last season. Tucker scored 16 points, had two rebounds and blocked two shots in UVa’s 124-65 exhibition victory over Carson-Newman on Nov. 4. He was 6-8 from the field, including 2-4 from three-point range, in 16 minutes of playing time.

Question: How has this year’s preseason practice period been different from last year’s preseason practice?

Tucker: “We have many new additions and more of a diversified team. Our freshmen bring so much energy and it’s a new experience with them every day.”

Question: What about for you as compared to a year ago when you came in as a freshman? What’s the difference for you?

Tucker: “It’s definitely the confidence from having last year under my belt. That helped me to realize what to do and what not to do within the game. It helped me to build confidence in my teammates and my teammates to have more confidence in me.”

Question: Did you feel better prepared for this preseason just because you had an idea of what was going to take place?

Tucker: Most definitely. Being able to go through last year and knowing the in and outs of what’s going to come about made me more relaxed going into the preseason because I’ve been there before.”

Question: Last year would seem to have been a tremendous learning experience for you in every aspect as you adjusted to college. Was that the case?

Tucker: “Everyday I learned something new from having such great players on my team. They were also great mentors and I learned something every day to make my game better.”

Question: What was the most difficult thing for you from a transition standpoint from high school to college?

Tucker: “It’s all about the mentality. College and high school are two different mental levels. Coming from high school it was a little more relaxed while college is more of an intense game and there is so much more competition that you have to be ready to go every day.”

Question: As you prepared for this season, what did you work on during the summer?

Tucker: “I worked on defensive rebounding with Coach Leitao being a defensive coach. I also worked on my ball handling so I would be able to go to the hole and not rely so much on my jump shot.”

Question: Do you feel pretty comfortable with your jump shot?

Tucker: “Yes, always.”

Question: You have now worked with strength and conditioning coach Shaun Brown for a year. What difference has that made for you?

Tucker: “Shaun Brown is not only going to get your body ready, he’s going to get your mind ready. Every time you’re with him he’s challenging you, not only physically, but mentally.”

Question: What do you anticipate your role being on this year’s team?

Tucker: “Hopefully with my size and my gifts, I should be able to impact every single game. Being able to help out as much as I can in all aspects of the game.”

Question: How do you feel the team played in the exhibition victory over Carson-Newman?

Tucker: “The whole team played hard. From the others playing hard, it gave me energy and made me play just that much harder. It was a hard fought game, but there are still areas where we need to work and get better. Overall we played hard, but there is always room for improvement.”

Question: What are your thoughts on the team and the season ahead?

Tucker: “I definitely think this is a special group. We combine a bunch of players with a lot of different mentalities, but I think we mesh well together and can do something special this season.”

Question: Are you looking forward to the start of the season?

Tucker: “Definitely, can’t wait.”

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