TNL: How long have you been playing basketball for?
LR: Ever since I can remember. I remember wearing jerseys in first grade, so right around then. Since I was about six or seven.
Was collegiate basketball what you always wanted to do?
It’s something I always wanted to do, yes. I remember when I was younger, my dad and uncles were big St. John’s fans, so I always grew up watching college basketball; and my mom always implanted in me the need to go to college. So yeah, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I can remember.
Was UAA what you always had in mind?
Not necessarily. I had some schools elsewhere I was more interested in, but my family needed attention at the time so I stayed here.
What has been your biggest challenge so far in basketball?
Probably just handling a travel schedule along with academics, and now family life and work. You really have to compartmentalize and not waste time. I’m always busy doing something.
You started out as a freshmen at UAA playing basketball and took some time off for your family, how was that?
Yeah I took a year off, I had a baby girl. Her name is Brooklyn, I named her (laughs). She’s just over two years old. But, I thought it was important to take some time off, be there for her, and provide. No regrets in doing that whatsoever.
Now you’re back on the team and it’s your senior year and it’s the last year you’re going to play. Are you excited?
I am excited. It’s crazy when you look back how fast it goes. You look back at everything and how fast it goes by: it’s just flown by. I remember the first time I stepped on the court as a freshman. It’s just a big difference and I see some of the freshman now and I tell them it goes by faster than you think. It may not seem like it at the time but it really does.
What’s your inspiration to stay motivated in school and basketball?
Stuff has changed. In the beginning, there were so many people that just believed in me, helping me go to basketball camps, and my mom being so supportive. I always had goals, and my passion has always just been education and basketball.
Life is fun when you live it through your passions. But right now, my motivation is just my family, getting my degree then going on to get my Masters, which is going to land more money in my pocket to provide for my family.
Is it hard having a family while being a full time athlete and student?
Oh yeah, it’s tough. My wife helps me a lot and God does too. The first year, I was only getting about five hours of sleep a night. It’s tough when you’re working, and then practice and games, and the physical demands that it puts on your body.
My first semester back last year was tough, but now I know the motions, and I know what I have to do, and I’m getting into the routine. So it’s not as hard anymore but at the same time it can still be pretty tough.
What’s your proudest moment off the court?
I don’t know if I can have just one. I have many. My daughter is a big part of my life and it really puts a smile on my face every day just seeing her.
For example, if she says a big word. She started saying beautiful all of a sudden recently. It’s funny seeing a two year old say that and what they pick up on. So those are some of my proudest moments, but becoming a father definitely is one of my proudest moments so far.
What are you most looking forward to this season?
Just having fun with the guys and being successful on the court, you know? We have a good group this year and I’m really reminded of the final four team just because that team was really stacked upperclassmen wise and they were all really talented players and they all knew their roles. When I see this team practicing, I see the same characteristics that team had. I know we can do well but it’s just putting the season together. So that’s what I’m excited about, just success on the court and having fun with them for my last year.
What are some of your goals on and off the court?
Basketball wise, UAA has never won Shootout and I think that would be a great one to go out on senior year. As far as conference or regions or even going all the way to the national title. Otherwise, I’m excited just to graduate and kind of move that chapter in the book of my life. Just do the best I can and finish out the year, whether it’s on the court, off the court, family life, basketball life, personal challenges and all that stuff.