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All-American Jennifer George was the center of attention at Media Day

Wednesday October 10, 2012The Gators Talked About Chemistry on Media Day

Gainesville, Fla.

All-American Jennifer George was the center of attention at Media Day

The 2012-13 Gators held their annual Media Day on Wednesday.


The following is a sampling of what they had to say:



#3 January Miller, G, Fr.

On the opportunity to play for Florida

“It is a really good feeling. I have always wanted to be a Gator, so it is a good feeling to be here and have this experience. (The transition is) tough sometimes but I am getting used to it.”


On toughest thing so far in practice

“Probably just all of the plays and the new things to learn, all the little things that Coach Butler looks at.”


On young team not being an excuse

“We just have to work twice as hard and make sure I study the plays and hustle at everything. Just make sure I do the best I can do to support my team.”



#4 Carlie Needles, G, R-Fr.

On being back

“It feels awesome. I’m so happy to be back. Everybody went through this journey with me and I’m so pumped to be back and win some games.”


On helping out the freshmen

“Well one thing that was a benefit of sitting out last year was that I saw the game from a different standpoint. I think I can give them a little more perspective, such as my work ethic coming back to the court and just the loyalty I bring to the team. I can bring them a lot of different perspectives and advice.”


On learning from (now graduated) Lanita Bartley

“Nita was a great point guard and her playing overseas is something she deserves. I learned a lot from her last year and I was really fortunate to sit and watch. There’s a lot you have to do as a point guard, and I’m going to try to do what Nita did.”


On expectations for the year

“You know, we have our own expectations. We could say we’re really young and put a lot of excuses out there, but our expectation is to win. It’s going to be a tough team. Our expectation is to play Florida basketball and just do us. If we do that then I think we are going win games and surprise a lot of people.”



#5 Chandler Cooper, G, Fr.

On what some of the other freshmen bring

“We have a lot of talent that we brought in. Sydney (Moss) is an all-star, (Christin) Mercer is too and so is January (Miller) being from near here. Everybody has so much talent that they bring to the table. I guess that means high expectations but we are ready for it.”


On relationship with dad who is a basketball coach

“It has always been a father/daughter relationship. He has been my biggest supporter and he basically taught me everything.”


On Jennifer George

“She is the leader of our team, being our only senior. She is teaching us how to act in practice as far as how we approach things. She gets everybody ready behind the scenes. She’s a great leader.”



#10 Jaterra Bonds, G, Jr.

On her leadership role this year

“I mean, there is no added pressure. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, but I know that there is a lot more expected from me and I’m up for the challenge.”


On goals for this season

“The goal is to be more productive and moderate with my decisions. I have to make sure I don’t get too riled up with what’s going on with me. I just have to make sure that the team is doing well and not be so concerned with myself.”


On the expectations for the year

“It’s going to be quite different because we have new pieces and diversity. It’s going to be interesting to see what these freshmen can come out here and do. We are going to need them because there are only five returners.”


On who (of the newcomers) sticks out so far

“They are all learning and doing well, but, to me, Sydney Moss. I just love watching her play; she’s so athletic. She’s a lefty, so that makes it even more interesting.”


On what Kayla Lewis brings to the team

Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding. Her ability to jump, block shots and push in transition is really big.”


On building from last year

“You can’t forget about it; you just have to learn from it. We advanced to the second round of NCAAs and we lost, but that’s just more motivation to get deeper and work harder each day.”



#13 Cassie Peoples, G, Fr.

On what is exciting about the team this year

“Probably how new we are. We basically have a whole new team and that is exciting because everyone is trying to figure each other out and I think we have a great time with each other.”


On reasons for choosing Florida

“There were a lot of different factors that went into the decision, but I used to live here my eighth grade and freshman years and I just wanted to get back to what I knew. I wanted a fresh start and I felt like Florida was the best choice for me.”


On team chemistry

“This team has probably been one of the best teams that I have ever played for that has gotten along so well. We do everything together: we go to dinner, have movie nights randomly, and we get along great in the locker room. It is a really fun team to be a part of.”



#15, Viktorija Dimaite, C, R-Fr.

On expectations for this year

“Well, just to play, not to get injured, and be healthy during the season and help the team as much as I can and do my job.”


On what she learned last year

“I think the biggest thing I learned was to see how hard it would be to play on the court. I took advantage of having to sit (on the bench). I got (mentally) stronger and more alert.”


On the newcomers

“All the freshmen, I love them and their personalities. It’s different because I thought I would be new, but now it’s all of us. Practices have been good. We have been learning a lot and the chemistry is good. I just enjoy all the people on the team.”


On what excites her most about this team

“I would say unity. We all get along very well.”



#22 Kayla Lewis, G, R-So.

On coming back

“I start practice this Thursday, coming back from a hernia surgery that I had earlier on this school year. I am very excited. The team is brand new; there are a lot fresh, new things that we’re going to do. So I am excited to get out there with them. I had a lot of fun playing with them this summer during pick-up and just getting to know these girls off the court has been awesome.”


On what she can provide for the newcomers

“Definitely a lot of insight on what our coaches want, and what is to be expected on and off the court. Our coaching staff expects excellence and from my perspective of not having been on the court (last year), I’ve had role models like Jennifer (George) and JT (Jaterra Bonds) to let me know what is expected, the intensity level, how to act in the classroom, socially what to do and what not to do and just how to best represent our program.”


On the expectations of the newcomers

“I feel like if you talk about youth, then most people give it as an excuse to why you don’t achieve. I don’t think that is what we are thinking right now. I think it’s just an opportunity to overachieve. No one expects our team to do much because we are so young. For me, I think the only way we can go is up.”


On being described as a great rebounder

“I would agree with that. I feel like rebounding position is one of the most important things in basketball. The more times you have the ball, the more opportunity you have to score. I also love it from an energy standpoint. I love basketball, I love to talk, I love to high-five, fist pump, all that kind of stuff. I’m not necessarily going to talk about scoring, that’s based on the coaches and whether I’m in position to score or not but I am definitely going to be a great teammate and give 100%.”



#25 Christin Mercer, F, Fr.

On what is exciting about the team this year

“Everything, honestly. The charisma, the unity, our honesty towards each other is exciting and to bring that to the court is a whole different level.”


On a large freshman class

“I think we will bring a lot to the game they already had. I think we will be a great asset to it. Being one of (the freshmen) is pretty cool because we are like half the team.”


On the keys to this year

“Keeping focused, encouraging each other and just playing hard. Remembering the little things and keeping our eye on the prize.”



#31 Lily Svete, F, R-Jr.

On her role this year

“Well obviously I’m the four player and I play a lot at the top of the key and I want to do a great job of getting Jennifer George the ball in the post because I feel like I’m a good passer. I’ve been working on my defense and rebounding too, so I want to contribute more on that end.”


On the impact of her 3-point shot

“Well everyone on our team is a great shooter. So I feel like when I’m open, I’m going to shoot it. And if I’m guarded I can pass it off to Chandler (Cooper) and rely on her to knock it down.”


On helping the freshmen transition

“We’ve done a great job of communicating the drills and expectations Coach Butler has for us in every part of practice. They’ve done a great job of listening. They are so talented and they’ve worked so hard.”


On the keys to success this year

“We were talking about this yesterday in one of our team meetings: unity. I feel like that’s something we have really worked on this summer and if we keep that going during our good and bad times, that’s going to keep us together and help us get wins.”



#32, Jennifer George, F, Sr.

On being a senior

“I can’t believe it’s here already. It’s flown by and I just can’t believe I’m a senior already. I definitely have a sense of urgency. I don’t take anything for granted. Every day I look at it as, ‘alright, this is one less practice I have in my college career.’ So I’m definitely cherishing every moment I have.”


On being described by Coach Butler as a ‘new woman’

“I think coming in as a freshman, I didn’t have that much confidence because I wasn’t aware of my abilities. But I feel like every year I’ve grown and accepted my talents. This year, being the only senior, and only one of four returners, I know that I have a lot of responsibility.”


On seven freshmen and building the team

Even though we have a lot of newcomers, we are still expecting to get back to NCAAs. We’re trying to instill our aggressiveness and our attitude that we have had every year. They’re learning it very well, even though we’ve only had a week of practice and they’re just going along and learning the ‘Gator Way.’”


On the team

“In my four years, this has been the closest team we’ve ever had. The chemistry is great on and off the court. I am having so much fun my last year and I’m glad we’re so close.”


On the program’s next step

“Definitely an SEC Championship. It hasn’t been done on the women’s side ever.  So that’s what we are looking to accomplish this year. “


On playing with to a 6’7” teammate

“It’s awesome. She’s (Vicky McIntyre) really good. She has a great offensive game and helps out as well on defense. She’s going to be fun to watch and play with.”



#34 Vicky McIntyre, C, Jr.

On being at Florida

“It’s awesome, I love it here. I fit in really well here and it’s like a new home.”


On why she chose Florida

“The environment and the coaches, the team, it was just a perfect fit. I narrowed it down to Arkansas, here and Purdue. I took my visit here first and just knew this was it.”


On the team this year

“We are a really talented team this year and a lot of hard workers. I think we will be able to go a really long way and our goal is to win championships so that is what we are going to go do.”



#40 Sydney Moss, G/F, Fr.

On freshmen being ready for expectations for this team

“I think we are ready. Carlie (Needles) is back and Viktorija (Dimaite) is back. I think we are ready, just pushing through conditioning and we have had a few practices. From what I’ve seen, we are ready.”


On biggest transition for the freshmen

“I think just juggling it all, having classes, tests. Then practice, film, traveling, things like that will be tough.”


On position she’s most comfortable playing

“Probably the guard spot, the three (guard offense). I am real comfortable with that.”


On back court roles

“They kind of told me coming in here that I would have a big role since they graduated five seniors. I have tried to prepare myself to face that.”



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