5 minutes with… Threloff adds punch to men’s hoops

By Steve Shonder

Redshirt senior center Jordan Threloff is helping men’s basketball get off to a hot start on both ends of the floor.

Threloff is averaging a double-double with 10 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Threloff spent the tail end of his summer playing in Europe as a part of the Global Sports Academy Goodwill European Tour, a non-profit organization aimed at spreading international goodwill through sports.

Northern Star: What sort of tips did you pick up while playing in Europe over the summer?

Jordan Threloff: There was a lot. It’s a different game. They have different calls. It’s a lot more physical over there in the post. You can hit people a lot harder, and so it just helped me be more physical coming into this year.

NS: Europe has a lot of stretch fours and fives. Do you think that helped you develop on the perimeter or at least transition to playing out there?

JT: It did. It definitely did. My jump shot is definitely something I’ve been working on this year. I’ve got to get my ball handling better, and I have to get my quickness better. My goal is focusing on having a good season this year.

NS: You said you were working on your jump shot. How is that going?

JT: I’ve got my range out to about 17 feet now. I want to get so I can be comfortable from the 3. I know coach would let me shoot it, but I’m just not comfortable shooting it yet. Hopefully by the time the season is done I can be out there knocking down some 3s.

NS: How important is it for you to dominate on the interior?

JT: That’s my goal. That’s my space. I want to be the most physical, the strongest and grab the most rebounds every game. That’ll give us that advantage as a team.

NS: How would you rate how you’ve done with that?

JT: I think I’ve done OK. I could definitely do better. I think I could [have done] a lot better against Iowa. [Against Maine] we struggled as a team and I know we can do a lot better. If we play like we did in the first half we’re not going to win too many games. But, if we come out like we did with the energy and the effort we did in the second half — we finished that game on a 28-2 run — we can do something special.

NS: How do you think you’ll be able to carry over your defensive play from last season?

JT: Defense is a science. There [are] certain spots you have to be when the ball is in certain spots. You [have to] help. It’s just getting to those spots and being tough getting the rebounds.

NS: Against Iowa and in the last couple games you’ve been the focal point for the opposing big men on offense and defense. How do you feel about that?

JT: It feels good, but there’s a lot of different components to this team. We have [Darrell Bowie], who’s scoring really well. [Aaric Armstead] is scoring really well. It’s not just me scoring offensively or playing defensively. We work defensively as a unit, and we score together, too.

NS: How can you stay tough against a lot of these more physical, big men you encountered so far?

JT: I’m a big body guy, so I just try to hit as many people as I can and as legally as possible. As long as the refs don’t call it I’m pretty good with that.

NS: Against Iowa, you and Adam Woodbury had a really physical battle. Did that affect your fatigue at all?

JT: A little bit. He’s a big guy. He’s over 7-foot, 250 pounds. He’s a hard guy to move, but we went at it back and forth. I did get tired a little bit, but I know Marin [Maric] and big Pete [Rakocevic] can come in behind me and work just as hard.

NS: How do you think you can manage your fatigue level when you get into those more physical matchups, especially in the stretch runs late in the game?

JT: It’s just practicing hard. Marin and I go really hard at it in practice against each other. I know when I’m tired and I come out they’re going to come in right behind me and work just as hard.

NS: This being your senior year, do you have any added expectations for yourself?

JT: Being not only a senior but also a captain I have high expectations for this team. I think we can do something really special. We just have to play how we know we can play.

NS: Are you entertaining any professional prospects?

JT: I think there’s some professional scouts that are looking at me, but I’m not really looking at that until the season’s over with.