VUcommodores.com recently conducted a Question and Answer session with Commodore freshman, guard Tia Gibbs, addressing topics in basketball and life outside of Memorial Gym. Check out Gibbs and the rest of her teammates at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2, as the `Dores tip off their season with an exhibition game against Tusculum College.
Gibbs on Basketball:
What have you been learning in the first couple weeks of practice?
We have a team full of veteran guards, so I'm learning from the coaches, but right now I'm really trying to learn from them [the guards], especially defensive-wise. Our pride is our defense, so I think learning from them right now is going to help me in the long run.
Have you been excelling in a certain aspect of your game?
I'm still learning, but I think my passing has gotten better, and is helping me out. I'm also getting better at getting my shot off quicker.
Is there anyone on the team who's serving as a mentor for you?
There are several people in different spots. Jess (Jessica Mooney) is a very good point guard. The stuff she does and what she sees, she'll come to the sideline and after she does it she'll stop and explain it to me. When it comes to shooting, Merideth (Merideth Marsh) does the same thing during plays and everything. So, they're helping out a lot.
The team plays its first exhibition game Sunday. Are you excited for that?
Oh yeah, I'm just excited to finally get going. We've been conditioning since July. Practice finally started. Now, games are finally here. So, I can't wait.
Is that surreal for you, jumping from high school to college and now you're ready to go?
It hasn't hit me yet. I think once we start playing it'll hit me, but right now it's just basketball. I'm waiting for it to hit.
Have you set any goals/expectations for the season or for the first game?
Not yet, not for the games anyway. I'm just working in practice, and then I'll see how it looks when I first step out there. After the exhibition game, I think I'll be able to set more goals for myself, because I'll see the competition and what I need to work on.
Do you have any games on the schedule you're especially looking forward to?
I'm excited about the first one, of course the Western Kentucky and Kentucky games, of course the Tennessee games. Western and Kentucky, they're going to be big rivals for me, Merideth and Amber (Amber Norton). [Marsh, Norton and Gibbs hail from Louisville, Ky.] So, I'm sure we're all excited for those games in some way.
Do you have a philosophy or motivation you take with you on the court, or anyone you model your game after?
I pretty much just play as hard as I can. I look up to a lot of people, but I don't try to do what they do.
Off the Court:
What's been the biggest transition from high school to college for you?
There's been a lot. I'd say the biggest thing is balancing the schoolwork with the practice. Practice is so long and tiring, once you're done you want to go to bed. But, you have to make yourself do your homework and study and everything. In high school, when you were done with practice you went home and you had the whole day to do your work. So, that's been the toughest thing for me.
Have you been able to balance basketball and school?
So far I have, but it's not easy. It takes a lot of effort. I have to turn the TV off, and sometimes I have to leave my room and go to the library or downstairs to an open room and study by myself.
So, what do you do to take a break and relax?
I sleep. That's the only thing I do to relax.
What do you do for fun?
Most of the time I'm with the team, and we go to the movies and shopping a lot. On weekends we'll go to some parties when we're not too tired, but we come home pretty early because we have practice in the morning. So, there's not too much.
What was the last movie you went to see?
The last one I saw was "Eagle Eye," but I think the team just saw "The Express." I was tired so I didn't go.
How are you liking Nashville so far?
I love it. It's different from Louisville, but not too much. It's a big city, there's always something to do.
Have you found any favorite places to eat or hang out?
I'm still getting used to the city, but I like Mellow Mushroom, the pizza spot, and of course the malls.
How are the classes going for you?
It started out kind of rough, but it's coming along now. I'm majoring in human and organizational development, so we have a lot of long papers. The first one was a little rough, and I waited until the last minute, but now I'm starting earlier on them. It's getting easier and easier for me.
The semester is almost over. Has it been going quickly for you?
Yeah, it really has. Almost half of my freshman year is over, but it doesn't seem like it at all.
Who are you rooming with this year, and how's that working out?
Jordan (Jordan Coleman); we're the only two freshmen, so we've been rooming with each other since summer school. We don't have a lot in common. We're like complete opposites outside of basketball, but we get along so well. We've never had an argument or anything. I think we've gotten used to each other, and we've lived together for so long that people think that we're sisters. We go out and people ask us if we're twins.
Do you have any hobbies outside of basketball?
I listen to music and sleep. That's all I do.
What's your favorite type of music, and who's your favorite artist?
Rap and R & B. I'm a Lil' Wayne fan, and I like Mary J Blige.
Did you see Lil' Wayne when he came to campus?
Yeah, it was great. We thought we were going to meet him afterward, but we missed him. He came on kind of late, and we had practice right before. So, we were rushing to get ready so we wouldn't miss him. It was a great show.
I wouldn't say famous. Me and Jordan were bored one day and decided to make a YouTube.com video of an imitation of a MADtv episode or something. I don't even know how to explain that one.
Have you had any favorite classes this semester?
My favorite class is actually English. In high school and throughout my life, I dreaded English classes, but my professor teaches really well. She works with me, and makes me think differently about different things. I don't know how she does it, but she's making me like writing somehow.
Who's your favorite team/athlete?
I've learned to like Kobe Bryant, somehow. At first I wasn't a big fan of him, but I like his whole demeanor, how's he's focused and knows what he wants and what it takes to get the job done, and he does it. I like the Lakers too.
Living in Nashville, you pretty much become a Titans fan too. So, I've grown to be a Titans fan also.