(Photo of Jarrod West: Orlando Ramirez - USA TODAY Sports)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After signing with the Louisville men's basketball program back in April, Marshall graduate transfer guard Jarrod West officially moved onto campus last week, alongside fellow newcomers Noah Locke, El Ellis, Michael James and Roosevelt Wheeler. He took some time to meet with the media, and discussed his decision to join the Cardinals, and more.
Below is the transcript from the press conference, as well as the video:
(On his early impressions and thoughts of Louisville)
This first week and a half has been great. I'm super excited to be here. I'm blessed and grateful that I'm at the University of Louisville. I feel very welcome right now. I'm around a lot of good people. My teammates, coaches, support staff, everybody has been very welcoming, they've been very open, and I'm just excited to be here. It's been a fun two weeks. It's been a different experience than what I'm used to. A lot of new things, meeting new people and things like that. I'm really excited, I'm enjoying it so far and hopefully it'll be fun summer.
(On what it was like to finally meeting the coaching staff and his teammates)
It was super exciting, man. Getting to meet all of them in person, finally for the first time instead of over zoom or FaceTime or whatever the case is, it was great man. It was super exciting, and it made me really feel like home. When I got to the dorms, and they met us out there and everything, being able to meet and interact and converse with all those guys, all the coaches, all my teammates, it was great. I'm really glad to be here. Being able to meet them in person was awesome. We've got off to a pretty good start building this relationship in person, officially now this first two weeks. So I'm just gonna continue to try to build off of that.
(On how different it is to make an adjustment after being at one school for four years)
It's been a little bit of an adjustment, just because it's something that I'm not used to. Being at one school for four years, you get comfortable. You know everybody, you know where you're going, you know where to be, and places like that. So to be here and just meet everybody that are new, building relationships with new people, and that includes my teammates and my coaches, having to do that in person, it was tough because we were on Zoom for a while, or we're on FaceTime. Doing in person, being around the practice facility, trying to get a feel for the campus and things like that, where I need to be, and the people I need to be around, it's a little bit of an adjustment. But it's also fun, I'm really enjoying it really. This first two weeks has been great. I can't really ask for anything else or anything more than what everybody has provided me and offered me. It has been an adjustment, but it's also been fun. I'm really just trying to enjoy it all while I have it, so it's been it's been a really good two weeks.
(On why he decided to leave Marshall and come play for Louisville)
At the end of the day, man, I just want to win. I want to compete at the highest level. However you want to look at it, Louisville is a top five, top 10 program in the country. With Coach Mack being on the staff, and all the other coaches - Coach (Kahil) Fennell, Coach (Mike) Pegues and now Coach (Ross) McMains, all the support staff and everything like that, I just felt like it was a great situation. I built that relationship with those guys, all those coaches. When I committed, the players were super friendly, and they reached out and congratulated me and everything. But I think at the end of day man, I just want to win. I want to compete at the highest level. I know the standard at Louisville is really high when it comes to basketball especially. I've watched them play in Final Fours and national title games growing up. At the end of the day, that's the ultimate goal man. I want to compete for an ACC regular season title, ACC championship and I want to make a deep run and NCAA Tournament. That's that's not something that I've been able to do in my first four years of college. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing for me. I want to win big, I want to make a deep run and I want to maintain that standard of Louisville basketball.
(On where else he was considering, and if he thought he was taking a gamble committing to Louisville since Carlik Jones and David Johnson were still on the roster at the time)
When I cut my list down, my top three was was Louisville, Ohio State and Pittsburgh. That was my final three in the decision. There were a lot of schools that reached out, a lot of good programs that have a lot of good coaches but at the end of the day, those were my final three.
I wouldn't call it a gamble. Coach Mack was very upfront and honest about what he thought was going to happen, how he felt things were going to play out, and also where he saw me fit with the team. That's something that went a long way for me, being able to - he was the first person to call me when I was in the transfer portal. He FaceTimed me three - five minutes in. He was very upfront, open and transparent from the beginning. Him being honest with me, really explaining the team, the dynamic, what was going on within the team, where I fit and everything like that, that all made me comfortable. Coach Fennell, coach Pegues, they were on the zoom calls and stuff like that too. They all made it very comfortable for me, because they were all very open and honest from the beginning. So I definitely wouldn't say it was a gamble. I trusted them, they were honest with me and I feel like that was why that was a big reason as to why I made my decision to come here.
(On what he thinks will be the biggest challenge from the step up in competition)
I don't know how much of an adjustment this will be, I can't really say, but I think playing in different type of arenas, big arenas with big crowds and things like that. I think that'll be something that I'm really looking forward to. I feel like the overall size, athleticism, strength at this level is probably something that'll be different from Conference-USA. I think that's something that I'll have to adjust to, and I'm adjusting to right now. At the end of the day, I'm very confident in my abilities. I'm confident in what I can do, and also the coaches do a really good job of putting me in good positions to succeed, grow, learn and get better. At the end of the day, I know it's going to be adjustment, there's going to be a learning curve. But I'm very confident in my abilities, I'm confident that the coaches are going to do everything they can to help me. I'm super excited for it.
(On what his biggest on-court strength is)
My biggest strength I would say is leadership overall, and everything that I do. I try to be the best leader I can be on and off the court. I've got a really good work ethic, and I feel like that transferred over to my success in my college basketball career on the court. I feel like there's a lot of good things that I can do from point guard position as far as running the team. I can run the pick and roll efficiently at a high rate, defensively is really where I've kind of made my mark I would say so far in my career. Most people like to address that early on, and that's something I take very seriously and I take a lot of pride in. There's a lot of good things that I can do on the basketball court, I really do trust and believe in my ability. But at the end of the day, I feel like leadership is what I really try to hold my hat on, on and off the basketball court to not only help me, but my team.
(On his biggest impression of the team both on and off the court so far)
Man, I'm around great people. I feel like everybody that I'm around is really - I feel like I'm dealing with good, genuine people who really care about basketball, and really care about others. I feel like I've built a lot of good relationships already over this week and a half. I know it hasn't been long, but like I said, the people are great. My teammates have been awesome. They welcomed me. I'm around them all the time, we've been in constant communication with each other. I'm just trying to continue to develop relationships with everybody and stuff like that, the coaches as well though. Being able to be with them in person, and see them every day, and go to work with them, that's great, man. That's something I was really looking forward to, and I'm super excited about. I'm just developing relationships, I really feel like I'm around a lot of good people. I think that's a good start to where I'm at in this first two weeks, and we're just going to try to build off of that.
(On why he is able to create such havoc on the defensive end)
Growing up, I was always one of the smaller guys on the court, always. That is still today. Defending your position is something that I've always knew I had to be good at to play at this level, and growing up I wanted to be a Division I basketball player, and it's hard to be a 5-10, 5-11 guard that can't defend at a high level and play at Division I level. That was always something I always took pride in. At the end of the day, I want to win, man. So I just want to impact the game in as many ways as possible, and that's creating havoc, forcing turnovers, changing the pace and tempo of the game. That's all a part of winning and trying to impact the team as much as you can in a positive way. That's something that I really take personally, and I kind of enjoy honestly. I like the challenge, I like taking the best matchup, and things like that. That's something that I'm going to try to continue to do here at a high level
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