June 10, 2010
This is the first installment of a four-part series highlighting the 2010-11 Tennessee basketball newcomers. In this edition of "Hello My Name Is," UTsports.com chats it up with point guard Trae Golden, a freshman from Powder Springs, Ga.
Q: You've been on campus for nearly two weeks now. What are your initial impressions of the team and how do you feel like you fit in?
A: "I feel like I fit in really well. Everybody is really goofy and playful--but in a good way. We all have a good time with each other, and we have great team chemistry."
Q: What about the reception you've received around campus and around town?
A: "It's great. People will come up to you, recognize who you are and tell you they're glad you're here. I've just been getting accustomed to the workouts and being sore all the time. (smiles)"
Q: What's something Tennessee fans don't know about you that they might find interesting?
A: "I eat chicken wings every day! That is the one food I have to eat at least once a day. I'd have to say Buffalo Wild Wings is one of my top spots in Knoxville so far."
Q: The team has a love affair, of sorts, with Waffle House. Do you like eating there, and if so, what's your order?
A: "I'm not really a big breakfast guy, but I will eat there. It's not one of the top places I'd pick to go eat. But if I went there I'd probably get a T-bone steak."
Q: You've been friends with fellow freshman Jordan McRae for quite some time. You're both from Georgia. Do you have any funny or embarrassing dirt on him?
A: "Man, not really. He's crazy... and he's really skinny. We'll go eat somewhere and everybody gets a 10- or 12-piece order, but Jordan always gets a six-piece. It's ridiculous."
Q: Your older sister, Ryan, is crazy smart. Tell us a little bit about her.
A: "She's like a perfectionist. I'll look at her eyes sometimes when she's reading, and they're zipping back and forth super fast. She's one of the smartest people I've ever come across. And it's not a `nerdy smart,' just really intellectual. She graduated from Georgia Tech and works at Lockheed Martin in Marietta. And she may be coming to law school here in the fall."
Q: Deron Williams or Rajon Rondo?
A: "Deron Williams. He's my man. I feel like out of those two, I can emulate my game more off Deron Williams. He's just... the best point guard in the league."
Q: In your opinion, what is your biggest strength on the basketball court? And what area of your game do you most want to improve upon?
A: "My biggest strength is that I have good offensive instincts--a high offensive IQ to make plays without really thinking about it. I want to work on my defense. I try to be mindful of that, and I know this year that's one area where I'll definitely have to step it up."
Q: Who would you pick to play you in a movie about your life?
A: "Idris Elba. He was in Obsessed and Prom Night. He's a good actor."
Q: Did you play any sports other than basketball while you were growing up?
A: "I played baseball, football, soccer. I swam. In football I played linebacker, wide receiver and running back. I moved around everywhere. In baseball I played third base and first base."
Q: What reality TV show would you most like to be a part of?
A: "One of those shows they do on NBA TV, where they follow guys around when they make the playoff or the finals. Ahmad Rashad hosts it. That would be really cool."
Q: What reality TV show would you absolutely NOT want to be a part of?
A: "The Real World. I think everybody who goes on that show comes across looking bad. It's not a good image to have."
Q: Who is your favorite pro athlete in a sport other than basketball and why?
A: "I was a big Tiger Woods fan, but I was really disappointed in the stuff that's happened with him recently. I like Peyton Manning a lot."
Q: Who is your favorite basketball player?
A: "Deron Williams."
Q: What three words would you use to describe head coach Bruce Pearl?
A: Energetic, of course. Loud. Good-guy. That's more than three words. Is that ok?"
Q: When you think about your Tennessee debut at Thompson-Boling Arena this winter, what do you envision as your first big play?
A: "I dream about this all the time! I tip the ball but I don't steal it. Scotty Hop gets it, and he throws it to me out in the open. I just get in the open court and take off from a crazy stance. I cock it back, and throw it down. Then I just start screaming--like the kind of scream where I can't talk the next day! Then I just look over at coach Pearl and the rest of the guys."
Q: Who are some of the more well-known people to have come out of Powder Springs?
A: "Basketball players Josh Smith and Morris Almond. Also Rajaan Bennett. He was a good friend of mine... played on my first AAU team. He was going to Vanderbilt to play football, but he got shot trying to protect his Mom in a domestic dispute and he passed away during our senior year."