UE freshman — yes, that’s safe to write now — Egidijus Mockevicius met with local reporters Wednesday after hearing that the NCAA had cleared him and granted four years of eligibility to the 6-foot-10 Lithuanian native. Here’s a transcript of the conversation.
Question: Tell me first just what you like about Evansville. Since you’ve gotten here, how much have you enjoyed getting to play with these guys on the team?
Answer: It’s still new for me. Everything is difficult now. It’s different now between my old country. I’m still excited, and I just want to play. I’m waiting for the first game, and I’m taking this opportunity.
Q: Tell me about what you think about the Ford Center.
A: I’ve been there, and it’s really huge. I like it so much. I can’t express that feeling.
Q: How did you end up here and how long have you known the coaches at Evansville?
A: They’ve been recruiting me maybe the last two years I was talking to them – from my first college year. I talked to Rokas, and it helped me make a good decision.
Q: How did you know Rokas? Did you play on the same team?
A: Oh yeah. We were 16 or 15 maybe – I don’t remember.
Q: What made you want to come to the United States and play basketball?
A: I just want to be educated.
Q: How’s the competition here – your teammates and their skills – compare to what you played with in Europe?
A: They are much stronger than in Europe, and they’re faster.
Q: Could you describe your playing style?
A: I’m mostly defensive. I’m good on defense. I’m also good in the post, and of course on the rebounds.”
Q: Do you shoot from the outside at all?
A: Yes. I am trying.
Q: Had you been to the United States before coming here?
A: No, this was the first time.
Q: Were you nervous coming over here?
A: Yes, of course. I was alone on my flight for maybe 20 hours. I was completely alone – along in the flight, alone in the airports. I was really nervous. But now I’m feeling good. I’m doing OK, so I’m happy.
Q: How often do you get to talk to your family and anyone back home?
A: I talk with them every day. I talk to my brother – talk to my aunt – every day.
Q: You get four years here. Do you plan on spending them all here?
A: I don’t know. We just need to talk about this with my coach.
Q: What has been the biggest thing to adjust to from home while coming to America in your day-to-day life?
A: Everything is different now, so I cannot express only one thing. I need to get up early on Sundays (laughs). It’s kind of difficult now, because in Lithuania I just woke up whenever. And now I need to wake up at 6 a.m.