Lampasas starting point guard Mason Murray leads the Badgers in points (14.2), assists (5.3) and steals (3.3), while helping lead the team to a 3-2 start to the season.
Just five games into the season, but how do you feel the team is coming together?
“We are starting to grow as a team and really trust one another. Listening to coach (Rob Shivers), we’re starting to trust in the system he’s got going. It really fits who we are as players, and, as we are starting to go into the season, it is starting to mold to us. Buckets are becoming easier to get, we’re being tough around the basket, and everything is just starting to fall into place for us.”
What are your expectations for the team this season?
“My expectations are very high. I feel like we could go deep in the playoffs, honestly. Like I said, its early in the season, and as the season keeps going on, most of the players are maturing and starting to get a feel for the game.”
Lampasas hasn’t been to the playoffs in a long time. What would it mean personally to you to help the Badgers get back?
“It means a lot, really. I’ve dreamt about this day for a while, and for it finally be here, I don’t want to pass up on the opportunity. So, every day, we come into practice with the mentality that we are just going to get that much better. It is an opportunity I really don’t want to give up.”
To make the playoffs, you have to win in district. What is it going to take to be successful in District 8-3A?
“Trust and belief in the system that coach has. We believe that coach has a really strong I.Q. of the game, and when we run over the offense and the defense and the gameplan, we just trust that he has the right plan for us to be as successful as we can in that situation. And we execute everything we need to execute.”
How would you describe the team’s collective personality?
“It depends on the day, honestly. Sometimes, certain things will get us going, and we like to have fun and play basketball. When we do score buckets and get rebounds and make stops, we like to jump and yell and get excited for one another. But, sometimes, we have stretches where we are quiet, and we need someone to get us going. At this moment, we are lacking a little bit (when it comes to) getting that momentum going, that excitement going to start us off, but once we get it then we keep going.”
Is there anything you want to accomplish on a personal level this season?
“I just want to leave our mark on school history. I just want to make the playoffs, which is something we haven’t done in a while, and just make the basketball program heard by the community. We haven’t really been known for winning lately, so, personally, I just want the basketball program to be recognized.”
Do you have any pregame rituals?
“Yeah, my team, they hate it, but when I tie my shoes, (I keep tying knots until) I leave no loop whatsoever. I might have eight or nine knots in it, and it looks really stupid on my shoe, but I’ve done that every game since I’ve played. So, that is kind of my thing. They think it is stupid, but it works for me.”
How did that come about?
“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. I did it one game, and we won, so I figured I’d try it again and again from then on out. It was just working for me.”
With basketball season under way, I know this is a busy time of year for you. As a student and an athlete, how do you balance school and basketball?
“I always try to keep my grades high, and I try to do as much as I can in class. That way, when I come home from school and practice, I’m always tired, so I don’t have as much homework. So, I use that time for rest.”
Do you have to work to stay on top of things or does it come pretty easy for you?
“I’ve got to work at it most of the time. Some of the classes just come to me, and I understand it, but others I have to work. I study on my own time. I don’t have much of a social life. I don’t want to say I don’t have a social life, because I do hang out with friends and stuff, it is just limited at times because I do know my school life is important to me.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com