In his last game before heading off to America to begin his college basketball adventure, Jack Salt gave Sam Garriock some minutes of his time to talk about what is ahead for him as he looks to become the next big New Zealand basketball prospect.
Sam Garriock: How is it going to be stepping onto Coach K’s court or walking into Chapel Hill and playing under the banner of Michael Jordan?
Jack Salt: “It’s going to be unreal you know, a guy from New Zealand going over there and I’m really excited, I can’t wait to go against all those teams playing in all those great arenas. I’m a little bit nervous but I’m just looking forward to heading over there and putting in some work”
SG: How did the recruiting process unfold? I heard Saint Mary’s and Pitt especially were interested, being big names with obviously Steve going through Pitt and guys like Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills and a ton of other Aussies going through Saint Mary’s. What made you choose UVA?
JS: “The coaches really, Tony Bennett he used to play in New Zealand and he heard of me in Auckland. Kirk Penney, he’s Tony Bennett’s best friend and I know Kirk, so just a lot of connections. They have a great bigs coach and a great strength and conditioning coach. The ACC is a great league and also academically – it’s the number one public school in the nation academically. I’ve heard so many great things about the school so didn’t really find it all that tough to choose.”
SG: So you take the Student part of being a student athlete pretty seriously?
JS: “Yeah well if I don’t get the grades I have to come back home, so I have to get the grades and stay on top of it but they have solid tutoring systems over there so I’m sure I’ll be fine”
SG: What will you go and study over there?
JS: “Well I’m not too sure actually, it’s pretty broad in the first year and I’m taking music, some drama and I’ve got Greek anthropology (laughs)”
SG: What sort of system does Bennett run at UVA and what do you think you can contribute to the team? Just to spell Mike Tobey or what?
JS: “He runs a pack (the paint) defensive style, they were the number one defensive team in the nation last year so I’m really looking forward to learning under coach. I’ll come in to back up Mike Tobey and just try to do whatever I can”
SG: You’re expected to only really see spot minutes in your freshman year, how do you think you’ll go about competing for rotational minutes?
JS: “I’ll just come in and work hard, do whatever coach wants me to do. Try to use my length defensively and just compete man.”