Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tavon Sledge- Young Speedster Wants to Improve

St. Benedict's (NJ) seemed to have the game in lock during their matchup with PCTI (NJ) at the Hoop Group Showcase. The Gray Bees, who led by 14 at halftime, and were up by double digits for most of the contest, let the squad from PCTI slowly creep back into the game. The game was all tied up with under a minute to go and PCTI had the ball, but was unable to convert. St. Ben's took advantage of the opportunity and hit a close-range shot as time expired. During the hard fought contest, Tavon Sledge, a 5'10 point guard, stood out as one of the premiere players for either side. I had the opportunity to chat with the class of 2011 star after the win.

NB: What happened with [the team] out there? You guys had a big lead, [but] fell apart. You guys had to win it on the last second shot. What went wrong?
TS: We just got too ahead of ourselves, started throwing turnovers. We weren’t settled. We were trying to rush our shots, and just [did] not listen to the coach really.

NB: How did you personally contribute to the letdown at some point during that game?
TS: I threw some crucial turnovers, too. I tried to push the issue and tried to get my team involved when we weren’t supposed to, and that’s pretty much it.

NB: How did you then help your team rebound and get the win?
TS: I tried to stay down low as much as possible and try to double down on the big man because he started killing us at the end and started getting more rebounds.

NB: What do consider to be the strongest point of your game?
TS: My speed and my ability to score.

NB: What’s the weakest point of your game?
TS: My jump-shot.

NB: What are you doing to improve your jump-shot?
TS: I’m working a lot on my jump-shot with my trainer, . . . so I’m trying to get to him as much as possible every week and work on the shot.

NB: What do you see as some of the similarities between playing in a high school game during the summer and an AAU event during the summer?
TS: AAU is more of a run-and-gun game. [In] high school [games] you got to be smart and listen to the coach because [in] AAU, coaches don’t really coach, they just let you play. [In] high school [games] you got to run sets and just follow what the coach is saying because if you don’t listen he’ll take you out.

NB: Which one do you prefer?
TS: High school.

NB: Which one do you think you play better in?
TS: I think I play better in AAU.

NB: Then why [do] you prefer high school [basketball]?
TS: Because I think it’s going to get me better more [than AAU is] in the future. . . . I like to run a lot and play, but high school teaches me how be smart as a point guard and play . . . [like] the coach is telling me to.

NB: You brought up the future. What are some of the colleges you’re considering right now?
TS: I don’t even know yet.

NB: Have you been receiving any interest?
TS: I got letters from Marquette, Seton Hall, Villanova, . . . Syracuse, and that’s pretty much it.

NB: Are you interested in . . . [at] some point playing in the Big East?
TS: Yeah.

NB: Do you have a dream school?
TS: Not really.

NB: Is the Big East the conference that you want to play in though?
TS: Yeah.

NB: What are you looking for in a college?
TS: Something just to get me better, to be a smarter student. . . . That’s pretty much it.

NB: How important will academics be in your decision?
TS: Very important.

It's evident that Tavon, a speedster with great hops, wants to improve his game. The floor general will definitely get some playing time for the Gray Bees this year, despite the crowded point guard situation. With seasoning and practice Tavon Sledge may well become one of the best point guards in his class. It seems that getting him to practice won't be an issue, as the St. Benedict's guard is a baller who wants to become as good as he can.

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