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Dec. 6, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Sophomore center Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) helped Team USA to the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships this past summer. This season, Tobey scored a game-high 18 points at Davidson and pulled down nine rebounds against VCU. In nine game, Tobey is averaging 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

Tobey recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk Virginia basketball, Team USA and why he wears No. 10.

Q: What has been the biggest difference for you this season, going from rookie to veteran?
MT: “It has been a big jump from last year to this year. Just having the experience under your belt helps a lot, just knowing what it takes to play at this level. For me personally, the biggest improvement I have made is in my strength. All of the work in the weight room I have done with Coach [Mike] Curtis has allowed me to be more physical on the floor.”

Q: You are able to score both around the basket and from the perimeter. How have you developed your jump shot, which is rare for a player your size?
MT: “When I was younger, my dad would stress to my brother and I the importance of shooting. The funny thing is that he wasn’t a great shooter himself, but he taught us how to shoot well. It has been something I have worked on my whole life, so as I grew, I kept working on my jump shot. It has served me well because it is another thing defenses need to cover.”

Q: This year’s team has a lot of depth where a different player is leading the team in scoring and rebounding every game. How does that help this team?
MT: “That depth really helps. There have been games where a guy might have an off-night, but other people have stepped up. It really takes the pressure off of everybody, because we all know that our teammates are there to help. It also makes it difficult to defend us because there isn’t that one guy teams feel like they need to shut down to be successful. We have a whole roster of players who can lead us to a win on any given night.”

Q: You spent the summer playing with the U.S. U19 National Team. What did you learn from that experience?
MT: “It was a tremendous honor to be selected for that team. Some of the guys on that team are the best players in the country, so going up against them every day in practice, I learned a lot about where I am as a player and what I need to work on. At the world championships, we were playing against the best players in the world. You can only get better when you are playing that type of competition.”

Getting to know Mike:

Why did you choose No. 10?
MT: I was born on Oct. 10, which is 10/10, and I weighed 10 pounds and it was 10 a.m. Because of that I have always loved the number 10. I didn’t get to wear it until my last year of high school. I always used to get big-man numbers like No. 44 because those were the only jerseys that fit me.

Favorite free-time activity?
MT: I like to play Super Smash Brothers with Joe [Harris], Caid [Kirven] and Evan [Nolte]. We have quite a rivalry going. We play teams, it is Evan and I against Caid and Joe. Evan and I are the better team; we usually win.

Favorite TV Show?
Entourage

Name another sport you would play besides basketball?
Dodgeball

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