RiceOwls.com sat down with this year's Men's Basketball newcomers for a Q&A. The next installment features graduate transfer guard A.J. Lapray.
Having gone through the recruiting process once before coming out of high school, how was it this time around?
“It’s completely different. Going through it in high school, you’re kind of treated as a young adult in some way. After graduating from college (coaches) start treating you more of an adult. I like it a lot better going through it as a graduate student than a high school student.”
What was it about Rice that stood out to you?
“Coach (Scott) Pera actually recruited me out of high school as well when he was at Arizona State. So I’ve had a lasting relationship with him. It’s the same with Coach (Chris) Kreider when he was at George Mason. So, I’ve known them for some time now.”
How different has it been going from playing one system for the past four years to now playing a completely different system?
“I think the experience helps out a lot in that; knowing where to be and when to be (there). At any program, you acquire the experience, how to play and what to do. With our system, it’s a little faster. We get up-and-down (the court). There’s a lot of live play. It’s fun, always upbeat and exciting.”
What basketball player do you try to model your game after?
“I wouldn’t say any specific player, but Kobe (Bryant) has always been my favorite. Just when it comes to footwork and different things like that. I’ve tried to watch him and emulate that.”
You’re one of six newcomers on the team, but being a graduate student, you’re one of the oldest guys on the team. How has that dynamic been?
“I’m definitely the oldest guy on the team. The experience really helps. We know how to immerse yourself into a system. Everyone kind of shows us respect since we’re older guys. We can pick things up a little faster. Learning the new system hasn’t been too tough just because we’ve done it before.”
Has there been a returning player that has helped you out?
“Connor (Cashaw), Bishop (Mency) and J.T. (Trauber). Those are the older guys on the team. They’ve definitely helped out and they help everyone out on the team.”
What are your goals for the season?
“To go to the NCAA Tournament.”
When you’re not on the court or dealing with academics, what do you like to do in your down time?
“I like to watch TV and movies. I’m big into movies.”
What are you listening to before a game?
“It changes with whatever my mood is. If I need a slower song to calm me down, I’ll listen to something like that. If I need something to get me amped up, I’ll listen to something like that.”
What is your favorite movie?
“I have a lot of favorite movies but Wayne’s World is definitely up there.”
What is your favorite television show?
“Game of Thrones.”
What is your favorite food?
If you could have dinner with three people, past or present, who would it be?
“Anyone in my family.”