Aug. 21, 2009
This is the second of a three-part series highlighting the 2009-10 Tennessee basketball newcomers. In this edition of "Hello My Name Is," UTsports.com chats it up with true-freshman guard Skylar McBee.
Q: You turned down scholarship offers from some solid Division I programs and opted to walk-on here at Tennessee instead--wearing the Orange & White must mean a lot to you personally.
A: "The way I looked at it was, I watched UT growing up and have been a fan all my life. You only live one time. I wanted to play at UT, so when I got the opportunity--even though it wasn't a full scholarship--I decided I need to take advantage of that opportunity because it's always been a dream of mine."
Q: What's something Tennessee fans don't know about you that they might find interesting?
A: "I've been on several mission trips to Belize. It's through a ministry called Hearts of Christ. We would take beans and rice to villages and administer to some of the needs of the people in villages there. We'd build houses and we'd sponsor children there and help improve the schools because they don't have public education. I think I've been down there six times."
Q: Can you dunk?
A: "Sometimes... like if it's after practice and I'm really loose. I dunked a couple times in high school games."
Q: Ray Allen or Reggie Miller?
A: "Reggie Miller. Ray Allen has hit some clutch shots here and there, but I've seen Reggie do it over and over and over again. He just came through for his team and hit big shots whenever it was needed."
Q: What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on the basketball court?
A: "Last year in an AAU game, we were playing a team called the Tennessee Tigers. They had a really quick guard, and I tried to D up on him. He gave me a quick crossover and I fell down into his team's bench. They all got up and started laughing and pointing. "
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 my shooting. The thing I most need to improve on is becoming more comfortable handling the ball. I'd eventually like to be able to play the [point guard position, in addition to playing shooting guard]. So I'd like to become more comfortable as a leader and get everyone where they're supposed to be on the court."
Q: What's the one non-sports TV show you can't miss?
A: "Reba. I don't know why. It's kind of funny. I just got hooked on it and I watch it in my dorm room all the time."
Q: Do your teammates know you watch Reba?
A: "Umm... no. I usually watch it by myself. I guess they'll know now, though."
Q: Did you play any sports other than basketball while you were growing up?
A: "I played football; I was quarterback all the way through high school. And I played baseball until I was about nine. Then I started playing AAU basketball, so that kind of eliminated baseball."
Q: What kind of toys did you play with when you were little? Were you a Hot Wheels guy or an action-figure guy?
A: "I played with Power Ranger action figures. I also played with He-Man. I had an older brother that liked He-Man and he kept all those toys. I even had this little lunch tray that you could set on your lap. It had all the He-Man characters on it. It was pretty cool."
Q: Who is your favorite pro athlete in a sport other than basketball and why?
A: "Probably Emmitt Smith. I'm a big Cowboys fan, and he was always the big name on that team for so long. I always liked watching him play."
Q: Who is your favorite basketball player?
A: "Michael Jordan. He's the greatest ever. Everybody loves Michael."
Q: What three words would you use to describe head coach Bruce Pearl?
A: "Passionate. Enthusiastic. Competitor."
Q: When you think about your college debut at Thompson-Boling Arena in November, what do you envision as your first big play?
A: "Probably draining a three ball from the wing."
Q: You've been spotted in Pratt Pavilion working out with Chris Lofton, and we've heard you two do shooting drills together quite regularly. Looks like you know how to pick a good mentor.
A: "Yeah. You know, Chris is just a great guy. He let me work out with him and shoot with him. Everybody always tells me the way you're supposed to do things is exactly how he did them. He's just a hard worker and someone that you want to model your game after."