Dec. 15, 2009
By Tony Williams, UT Media Relations
Sophomore forward Renaldo Woolridge is known around Knoxville for two things: Playing basketball and his burgeoning hip-hop career. It would be difficult to weave the two subjects into a feature story in just 600 words, so here is the straight Q&A. Enjoy, Vol Fans!
You're spending a lot of time at the four position this year, and you contributed at the three as well last season. How has the transition inside been, and are you learning from Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith?
I'm learning a lot from them. I've played all over this system and I'm just trying to find my niche. Wayne and Tyler are our two best players. Their names are known nationwide. Being in practice with them makes be a different, better player.
How do you think you've improved since last year? I think my speed is better. I think I'm moving better on defense and I think I have a better understanding of defensive positioning within this system than I did last year. My shot selection and shot making is better this year too. I prided myself on that during the offseason.
How many tickets do you need for the Southern California game, a homecoming of sorts for you? "I'm going to try and get everybody to give me theirs. We play about 15 or 20 minutes from my house, and I have a lot of friends from high school there. Kenny (Hall) and Melvin (Goins) have ties out there too, so I'm going to have to deal with them. I need a bunch though.
What's new with Swiperboy?
"I've a got a mix tape coming out soon that I've been working on. I plan to release it in early April because I expect to be busy with basketball until after the Final Four. A lot of the stuff that's already out there has been doing really well. Everything I've got online is getting a lot of downloads, and the Eric Berry video has been a big hit. I've also got some guys who are already established in the industry who have contacted me and want to work with me, so I'm looking forward to that too."
Did you enjoy shooting the Eric Berry music video? It was a great experience for me. I was fortunate that the athletic department wanted to include me in it. It was a lot of fun. I wasn't sure going into it how it would turn out, but I was really impressed with everyone who helped us out with it and especially the final video.
Is it a challenge to balance the rap career with basketball? "During the season, I'm pretty much into basketball. The thing that's different about basketball season is not basketball but school. In the summer, I'm working out a lot for basketball, but I have more free time from class. One thing I will do during the season is write, and occasionally if I've got something I want to record, I will do it. It doesn't take very long to get something recorded, but I would say I focus much more on basketball during the season."
What is your writing process? Is there a person or group of people you like to collaborate with or is it more of a personal venture?
"It is very much a personal thing. I try to write about things that are going on in my life, whether its stuff from back home or things going on here. I kind of like to step outside of my own shoes and write from the perspective of someone who is watching my life. Most of it comes from my experiences though. When we were in the Virgin Islands, I took some time to myself on the beach at night and did a little writing. I was inspired by that place."