Q&A with USF guard Dominique Jones
USF junior guard Dominique Jones, who is one of 17 college basketball players who have been invited to compete for 12 spots on the U.S. entry in the World University Games, took a minute Thursday morning to talk about the invitation and his hopes for the team's training camp in Colorado Springs in three weeks.
GA: You have a chance to spend a week in Colorado with some of the best players in college basketball. Are you excited about the opportunity? Have you had many experiences that come close to this in terms of trying out for elite teams?
DJ: I'm very excited. This is the first time. Coach (Stan) Heath told me I had been invited, and I thought that was a real honor. To me, I'm thinking it's a chance to get my respect, to show I am one of the best players in the country. It's a chance to get together with other people who can play, other stars, just come together and try to represent the United States.
GA: Do you get nervous going into something like this?
DJ: I look at it as an opportunity. I know how I play, and looking at the two-guards that are going, the point guards that are going, I feel like out of 17 people, I've got to make a team of 12. I don't think that's hard.
GA: And if you do make the team, you get to go to Serbia. Have you ever been outside the U.S.?
DJ: No -- that's why I'm working on my passport right now. I've never been out of the country.
GA: How are things going for you this offseason? Are there specific things you want to improve in your game before your junior season starts?
DJ: It's going alright. I'm trying to get back into really good shape. My first year, I was just shooting 3s and driving to the basket, and people said I needed a mid-range game. I feel like I got that, so now, the think I'm working on is my mind, being able to will my team to win. Just me tightening up everything I do is good enough, and then me helping everybody get better, being a better leader, on and off the court, pushing everybody to go hard no matter what.
GA: Of the newcomers joining the team this fall, the only player already here is guard Mike Burwell, with the rest coming at the end of June for the start of Summer B semester. What have you seen in Burwell?
DJ: He plays on my team a lot in open gym, and just seeing him work out, he's got a nice shot. He'll really be able to help us spread out the defense, and he has good solid defense.
GA: Tell me what you've seen of the guys coming back and how you feel about how the team could come together next season.
DJ: It's a different attitude. Not pushing on last year's team or the year before, but now, if you look in the gym, you might see our whole team in there working out. It's a different attitude, that everybody wants to win. The things that were stopping us from winning, I feel like those things have gone, those distractions are out of here. I feel like it's nothing but people here who want to win, people here who want to get better, to go out there and prove we are a good team and not just a team that can upset somebody here and there. We need to beat teams consistently.