This week, Sports Editor Sean McKnight sat down with basketball player Leke Solanke to discuss his sport, pregame rituals, and his Stetson experience
By Sean McKnight
1. Tell me a little about yourself, where are you from, what position do you play on the court, and what made you choose Stetson University?
I am originally from Nigeria I am 6’ 6” and I play forward on the court or the 5,4, and 3 positions (center, forward, and power forward). I am sophomore marketing/communications major and I chose Stetson because of the small school atmosphere with solid athletics and great academics. I also love my teammates and coaches and couldn’t see myself anywhere else.
2. What is one aspect that is unique to basketball?
I just love how fast paced every play is whether you dunk, score two, or hit a three-pointer. It’s fast-paced and nonstop, and not a lot of sports are like that. That’s why I love basketball.
3. In regards to how you play the game, what’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
I’ve always been told that I am a very hard worker that when I do make mistakes, I have the work ethic to fix them and not repeat them. Also, that I’m a team player and not in it just to make my stats better. I just work harder every day to help benefit the team.
4. What was the last thing you saw a team mate do in a game that really impressed you?
A few days ago we had a scrimmage and one of our new guys, Glen Baral, went 6 for 6 and they were all three pointers. It’s great to have someone on the team who you can count on when it comes to making shots and getting points on the board.
5. This year, the basketball team has a new head coach, Corey Williams. What has he done different from years past and how has the team been preparing for the upcoming season under him?
A lot of his approach is different from last year’s head coach. He is definitely more keen on a defense that presses the ball and is more aggressive in general. On offense, we’ve just tweaked a few technical things that I think are going to make us a much better team. Overall, Coach Corey has been pushing the conditioning which has made practices a lot more difficult but will definitely pay off in the end. That’s our “Road to Success” as coach Corey puts it. We have to be able to play solid basketball without getting fatigued to be able to win games against tough opponents.
6. Stetson’s first two games of the season are on Nov. 8 against Clemson and Nov. 10 against Notre Dame, both on the road. How has the team been preparing for these two monumental games as well as the 7 other nationally-televised games we have this season?
Both the team and the coaching staff really want to show the nation that we can go on the road against some tough opponents and win one, if not both, of our first two games. We have four very strong seniors as well as new guys and everyone in between who are all on the same page as far as pushing each other to succeed. Worst comes to worst, playing tougher teams like Clemson, Notre Dame, UCF, and USF will only make us better, especially when we take on in-conference opponents like FGCU, Mercer, and Jacksonville.
7. Lastly, what are your goals for the season and what are the team’s goals for the season?
My main goal is to be a team player first and foremost. I am not out there to get my stats up I just want to contribute as best as I can to help the team win against A-Sun opponents as well as some of our tougher competition this year. I want to do the little things right so that transposes to the court and I contribute to our team being better overall. As far as the team goals go, we want to make the NCAA tournament this year just like FGCU did last year. We want to put Stetson athletics on the map and show the nation that we can play ball.