Checking in with Santa Clara Freshman Marc Trasolini

Feb. 24, 2009

Growing four inches between his freshman and sophomore year of high school, Bronco freshman Marc Trasolini is growing once again this season in his first collegiate season both on and off the court. Freshmen Kevin Foster, James Rahon and Trasolini continue to make quick work of the SCU freshmen records with all three climbing the top 10 lists of a number of categories and are on pace to break at least six freshman records.

Trasolini tied John Bryant's SCU freshman record with his 37th block shot of the year at USF. When senior center John Bryant was told recently Trasolini had tied his Santa Clara freshman blocks record, Trasolini smiled and said he hoped to break the record in the next game. Bryant laughed and said "I hope so. I was 360 pounds my freshman year and didn't do much, but just stand in the middle of the lane, waving my arms and trying to block shots."

They both laughed, but Trasolini dreams his own senior year Bronco fans will remember him as the wirey-skinny freshman kid who continued to blossom into one of the school's best. SantaClaraBroncos.com is visiting with the trio this week and Trasolini's got next. Trasolini leads the WCC freshmen in blocks shots in all games (1.42); and is No. 1 in field goal percentage (67.4%) in conference games and in all games as well (64.%). One of the top newcomers in the WCC, Trasolini talked on Monday about Coach Keating's help this season, what he likes about blocking shots and where he wants to be his senior year.

SCU: Has your season gone like you expected it would?

MT: No. I don't think I expected to play this much or have so many opportunities. I came in not knowing what to expect at all and it's exceeded my goals and thoughts.

Did it help you to come in and start with the team in July? Hang out, shoot, lift together?

MT: Yes for sure. To get use to the campus, the school, the routine and getting into classes helped a lot. It helped me later be able to balance basketball and school; and staying on top of things. It would have been hard for me to come in September and get right into it. It made for a smooth transition.

SCU: You have shot the ball really well this season. Any reason why?

MT: I just try to take good shots. I try not to overshoot the ball and every time I shoot it I think it has a good chance of going in. I am confident right now shooting the ball.

SCU: You scored a WCC personal-high 16 points at USF after scoring 18 in the last four games total. What do you attribute your success to in the USF game?

MT: With James (Rahon) being out we needed another person to step up and score. They were locking up more on John and Kevin; and I took that as opportunity to shoot the ball and I kept hitting shots. I didn't know I was 8 of 9 until later. I was a little surprised about that after the game, but happy. I also wasn't just hitting lay-ups - I was also shooting jumpers. I probably haven't made four or five jumpers in the whole season so playing that way will make me more confident for the future.

SCU: Coach Keating is tough on the freshmen. Has that helped you this season?

MT: Yes, defiantly because it's helped me stay focused and not get lazy or cocky. It's helped me to stay modest and work hard during every play. He's also been really encouraging. He has been tough when he needs to be and encouraging when he needs to be so it's helped a lot with my development physically and mentally. I think coaching will be a huge part of how I progress and it has been so far.

SCU: You are leading the WCC freshman in field goal percentage. Is that a surprise?

MT: Yes, I guess a little bit. It's nice to know that the hard work is paying off and I am one of the best shooters, at least based on percentage.

SCU: You are also one of the top freshman shot blockers in the WCC. In the USF game you tied John Bryant's freshman blocks record at 37. Has he given you any advice this season on blocking shots?

MT: John? I don't know about John helping me with blocks, but he has helped me overall with my defense by getting me to talk more out on the court and be more solid on my defense. He has gotten me to play better team defense and with that, the blocks have come along.

SCU: When you go to block a shot is there anything that you thinking or trying to do?

MT: You are trying to bate them into shooting and you have to time it right when the ball is going to come off their hands. It's a mix of athleticism and timing; and being in the right place at the right time. Obviously some are nicer than. It's a momentum builder and it gets your team pumped up. But there's not a lot of time to celebrate and get cocky, you just have to make the next play.

SCU: Who has been a big influence on your career?

MT: Here, all the coaches have been huge and the upperclassmen, especially Ben Dowdell and John Bryant. They really helped me to transfer from the high school level to the college level. They have gotten me to play harder, tougher and smarter.

Away from college, I have been lucky to have a few really good coaches who have helped with my development. My parents, my friends and many people at my high school have been a big part of my success. I am very thankful for that.

SCU: Coming from Canada do people ask you a bunch of crazy questions - like do you have Moose as pets? Anything stick out?

MT: A lot of people think Canada is so much different from here, but really it's not so different. Maybe a few small things, but for the most part it's not that different. Everything is on a larger scale here - in the USA - bigger schools, more funding.

There is more Mexican food here than in Canada. Back home I miss the Asian food and Sushi.

SCU: As we said earlier, you are one block from setting the SCU blocks record. Did you think about it when you got here? Was it one of your goals?

MT: I didn't even know there were freshman records here when I got here. I thought I could get a lot of blocks as a freshman, Coach Keating was pretty confident in that, but I didn't know I would a part of history like that.

SCU: You and Kevin Foster sound pretty well grounded. Did you come here that way or is it something you are learning as a freshman?

MT: I was brought up that way. My parents taught me to be balanced and modest when I succeed. It can be hard to do sometimes, but with success comes responsibility and you shouldn't take advantage of that for personal gain.

SCU: Do you get nervous before games?

MT: Yeah, usually. At the start of the year I was really nervous. My first game I was pretty bad like that. Against CSU East Bay I played pretty well when I got into the flow of the game and the nervousness went away. When you think about the game the whole day, you wonder how it will go, if you are going to make a mistake and let it get on your mind that's not good. If there's a bigger crowd I get a bit nervous, but usually it gets me up for the big games and it helps. It helps give me more adrenalin. There is a little more pressure when there is a bigger crowd.

SCU: Your nickname is Traz. Any others?

MT: Traz, Trazzy, Trazzo. Those are pretty much it.

SCU: You watch the NBA a lot. As far as NBA players, is there anyone you would consider a role model?

MT: Kevin Garnett because I try to model my game after him. He can go inside and out, he's a good leader and works really hard. He is always the most competitive guy on the floor. I watch a lot of NBA games, including the Celtics. I was happy that he finally got to win a championship last year because he was doing really well individually in Minnesota, but he wasn't getting rewarded because his team wasn't able to get it done for him.

SCU: Everybody talks about John's weight loss since his freshman year. Your senior year, what do you want people to say about you - what will you have done since you were a freshman?

MT: I hope they will say I was raw and wiry-strong as a freshman. By my senior year I would like to be a lot bigger, stronger and athletic. I would say I would like to weight 240. I weight 225 and I am 6'9. I am 6'9 with shoes (smiles), but I don't think I'll grow more than a half-inch. As a freshman in high school I was 6' 2. I had my biggest growth spurt from grade nine to grade 10. I went from 6' 2 to 6' 6. It's a surprise I am tall. My Dad is only 6' 2 and my mom is 5' 9.

SCU: Who is the toughest person you've guarded this year? If you played him again, anything you would do differently?

MT: Austin Daye or Josh Heytvelt of Gonzaga. Jordan Hill of Arizona was really good, too. I would probably play tougher to match their toughness and be more aggressive with them. They taught me how they play hard and what it takes to play at the next level (older players). They are nationally recognized for their work.

SCU: What's been your favorite game as a team? And then individually?

MT: As a team, Belmont was pretty big and UTEP. They were both two good teams. We came back from a huge hole vs. Belmont and UTEP we won in overtime to win the Cable Car Classic. And then of course Saint Mary's because we played really well as a team in front of a great college atmosphere here at the Leavey Center. I hope we have that again for Gonzaga and Portland.

Individually, my better games were at UNH, where I had my first career double-double, Belmont and last Saturday at USF.

SCU: How much fun is it being one of the freshmen? Any good freshmen stories about the guys?

MT: It's been fun being a freshman, but we are at the bottom of the team. I don't like carrying the bags, but it's been a really good learning experience. We are experiencing so many things for the first time and that's exciting. I don't know if I should share any stories (smiles). It's really fun hanging out in the dorms with Troy as a roommate; and with Kevin and James being right beside us. We enjoy hanging out, playing games, talking. It has helped us bond for sure. That was a huge reason I came here. To have guys like that, friends to hang out with, guys to help you with classes, anything - they have been there for me. And I hope I've been there for them.

Go Broncos!