The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Men's Basketball Q&A: Part 2

61 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: Todd Van Emst

Selected SEC Men's Basketball Players were posed a series of questions for a story to run in the game program of the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament. The tournament was ultimately cancelled due to concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Their responses are presented here in the second of a two-part series. The first part appeared on SECsports.com on Tuesday.

What does it mean to you to represent the name of your school across the front of your jersey?

Adrio Bailey, Arkansas: "To wear Arkansas across my chest means everything to me. This University gave a small-town kid from Clearance, Louisiana, an opportunity to play basketball at the highest. The fans love you through the ups and downs and, for that I will be a Hog for life - #woopig."

J'Von McCormick, Auburn: "It just shows that it's bigger than the name on the back of your jersey. You fight for not just yourself, but the people who have come before you, the people that will come after you, the people that live here and the people that support you."

Tyree Crump, Georgia: "It means a lot. My family is all from Georgia. They are all big-time fans. Me, growing up, I was a big-time fan. I always wanted to be here. It's my dream school, and it's a blessing to be here."

Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky: "It means everything to represent Kentucky. Just to be able to represent all of the people who have come before me, the great players and the people that will come after me. Every day that you step on the court, practice or a game, whatever you're doing for Kentucky means a lot."

Dontaie Allen, Kentucky: "It means everything to be able to represent the school on the front of my jersey just because being a kid from the state of Kentucky and to have that across my chest means everything and it's really just a blessing."

Marshall Graves, LSU: "It means a lot for me as I grew up in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, on 3rd street. I love the state of Louisiana and I really love representing my hometown and where I'm from."

Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State: "It means a lot to me. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to play on the Division I level, but for me to also play at the same place that my dad played at years ago is definitely an honor for me."

Jair Bolden, South Carolina: "It means the world to me. When I was younger, I dreamed about having an opportunity like this to play at this level for such a legendary coach. Being able to play for South Carolina and having the whole state behind us means the world to me."

Josiah-Jordan James, Tennessee: "It means the world to me to represent Tennessee. It's an absolute honor to be able to put this jersey on knowing the great basketball players who have come before me. It all makes me realize how truly blessed I am."

Josh Nebo, Texas A&M: "It means a lot. I feel like this is a special university. It's a unique university, and I'm very blessed and fortunate to be here. I treasure every day being here"

If you could talk to your 16-year-old self about being a college athlete, what would you say?

Jaylen Forbes, Alabama: "I would tell myself just to continue working hard and to not let anybody tell me what I can and cannot do. Just remind myself to always stay focused and keep working hard."

Adrio Bailey, Arkansas: "I would say keep doing what you are doing, continue to love the game and stay in the gym. Be in the gym as much as you can. Life is going to happen even with all your success and your lows. You just have to take it one day at a time and don't rush it."

Andrew Nembhard, Florida: "To get the most of the experience and enjoy the experience."

Marshall Graves, LSU: "I would tell myself that everything you do is worth the extra effort so keep staying true to what you believe in. God's plan for your life is exactly how it's supposed to be so enjoy everything that's coming your way."

Devontae Shuler, Ole Miss: "You have to be on top of everything. You have to make sure you stay motivated and inspired day in and day out. You have to do your own chores, you can't just stay laid back and be lackadaisical. You have to try and stay focused through all the distractions that college comes with."

Mitchell Storm, Mississippi State: "I would tell him that it is definitely worth all the work, and maybe even to put in a little more work beforehand just to be prepared for it. I also will tell him it's a full-time job, and it's definitely something you have to be committed to and willing to work for. It takes a lot of time, but it's all worth it."

Maik Kotsar, South Carolina: "Enjoy every minute of it. Cherish the time that you can and that it's a great ride. Every game, every practice and every class are special."

Wendell Mitchell, Texas A&M: "It's the most fun time of your life. Enjoy it. Do as much as you can and work as hard as you can."

Do you have any memories of watching SEC Tournaments before you played in one?

Javian Davis, Alabama: "Most definitely. I grew up watching Kentucky a lot. I watched them when they had Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker and those guys. Texas A&M was really good too, and I remember watching them play each other in the tournament. It was a big stage and I wanted to play on that stage. Last year I wasn't able to play, but I was on the bench and able to watch. It was a good environment playing against Ole Miss and Kentucky. They were good games and every school was there and the arena was packed. It's something I can't wait to be a part of this year."

Austin Wiley, Auburn: "I remember watching a lot of the great SEC Tournament games growing up. I remember being very excited when Auburn made its run during the 2015 SEC Tournament in Coach Pearl's first year. That was just the beginning of what was to come."

Jordan Harris, Georgia: "I do remember when J.J. Frazier hit a really big shot. I think it was against South Carolina. I was watching that live, and when he hit that shot, it was crazy. At that point in the season, I think everybody had lost faith and had given up on UGA and the Georgia basketball team. I remember J.J. hitting that had me fired up for a long time."

Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky: "My favorite SEC Tournament moment was when Kentucky was down to Mississippi State and DeMarcus Cousins made that game-tying layup and they all tackled each other running down the court."

Dontaie Allen, Kentucky: "A big memory that I have of watching the SEC Tournament was when Wenyen Gabriel hit seven 3's. I thought that was pretty big how the team gathered around him and brought him up and I could tell it was a brotherhood from that point."

Josh Nebo, Texas A&M: "Yeah. I have a few memories of watching the tournament. I grew up as a big college basketball fan, so I watched all the games. I remember watching my former (high school) teammate De'Aaron Fox play in the SEC tournament. That was awesome"

How do you get motivated for early morning workouts in the offseason?

Javian Davis, Alabama: "Number one, it's God and number two is my family. When you see progress and notice yourself getting better, it just makes you want to keep working to get even better. I see myself getting better today and that makes me want to get even better tomorrow. That's my motivation to work hard each day."

Adrio Bailey, Arkansas: "What truly got me motivated this past off season was hoping the grind of early morning workouts would pay off for my senior season - and I think it has. I'm thankful for my improvement and for God allowing me to wake up even when I didn't want to."

Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky: "Early morning workouts for college that's kind of where it all starts. Six a.m. runs with your team that's where you get to find out about your team and that's where it really all starts when you're trying to make a tournament run in March is how hard you guys work in September and August."

Devontae Shuler, Ole Miss: "I just try to use my high school background, we'd get up at 6:30 a.m. every morning and work out. I had two years of getting up that early, that's how I know I can do it. Also, my family, the people that are looking at me to be successful in everything that I do, knowing that I have them behind me makes me go harder."

Breein Tyree, Ole Miss: "I always know that I'm doing this for a bigger picture. The more you train, the more prepared you'll be for the season and beyond. Everybody across the league is getting up early in the morning too. You have to ask yourself what's going to separate you from them."

Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State: "It's just a matter of knowing that you have to prepare for the season. Knowing that you don't want to go into the season unprepared, because if you're unprepared, you're preparing to lose. I just have to find self-motivation in those early morning workouts to know that they will pay off in the long run and that they will help us win those close games that we'll be in."

John Fulkerson, Tennessee: "I think it's easy to stay motivated for early morning workouts during the offseason, because all you think about is all of the hard work you've put in during the offseason and that it's going to pay off during the season. It's not going to go to waste and it will help in the long run. I don't think myself or the other guys on the team struggle to stay motivated, we know those workouts are where you get better and where your team becomes good."