June 24, 2011
For some players, like University of Michigan men's basketball forward Jon Horford, time off from full team workouts at the conclusion of a season is just another opportunity to improve on your own time.
The Grand Ledge, Mich., native is determined to continue working every day to better his game from a freshman season where he played in 29-of-35 games, compiling the second-most blocks (11) and third-best free throw percentage (.722) on the team.
Having already spent all spring in Ann Arbor adding muscle and developing his skills, Horford plans to work out most of the summer with his brother, Al, of the Atlanta Hawks before returning to school for his sophomore season.
In an exclusive interview, MGoBlue.com sat down with Horford to discuss everything from his freshman basketball experience to his offseason workouts to his fashion sense.
On off-season lifting program ... "What I've been doing is basically what everyone else on the team has been doing, I might just do a little bit extra. Most of the stuff that we're working on gives you strength for basketball. We do stuff that makes your legs stronger, makes your core stronger, stuff that you really need when you're playing ball. It is stuff that will help you be more explosive. It will help you sit down when you're posting up, not be moved. So we've done stuff that will help out with the different parts of your game."
On non-lifting summer workouts ... "I've been playing a lot of basketball. I got some great workouts from the coaches right at the end of the season and I've been working on those. I've been doing some workouts that my brother has shared with me, and I'm going to be working out with him for the rest of the summer starting on Friday (June 24)."
On learning from coaches ... "The coaches help me with everything. Shooting is definitely coach Beilein's thing, and Bacari (Alexander) is a great teacher who he really helps you understand different parts of the game -- even outside of the post. He will teach you the mental game, too. He is big on the mental aspects, as is coach Beilein, and that is probably the most important thing that I can add to my game."
On personal goals for next season ... "I hope to contribute for to the team and help us to win a Big Ten title, and hopefully a national championship."
On confidence playing against the best in the Big Ten ... "I definitely feel like I can play with the best in the Big Ten. I just have to prove myself day in and day out. I have to be more consistent. I have to come out and be able to dominate practices before I can expect to go out and do it on the court. So my goal is to go out and be consistent on a daily basis."
On adjusting to speed of college basketball ... "It's tough, but you get it down with time, just like most things in life. I felt like by the end of the season I had adjusted fairly well."
On motivation from 2011 NCAA Tournament bid ... "All of the guys who have stayed here during the spring have talked a lot about getting back there and making a run and going for that national championship. It's definitely on all of our minds. I obviously can't speak for everyone -- I can only speak for myself -- but I just have to assume that they feel the same way as I do about this."
On impact of hobbies as a Division I basketball player ... "I still listen to music everyday; I'm always trying to find something new or interesting. Hacky sack is easy because I keep one in my back pocket and have one on me at all times. Test me on it. Have someone walk up to me and ask me -- I'll have it with me. It's something fun to do. It's something that my friends and I used to do a lot. I haven't skateboarded in a long time. I doubt I could even skateboard now."
On fashion sense ... "My teammates probably don't feel that I have good fashion sense, but I feel that I do. Here's the thing: a lot of them -- like Colton (Christian) and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) -- used to borrow my clothes all the time. They'd say, 'let me get that sweatshirt or cardigan' or something like that. I think I have the best fashion sense on the team. I don't think they would agree. Their style is a little bit different than mine. Mine is a little bit strange."
2011 Summer Basketball Q&A Series: Catching Up with the Wolverines
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423