Sit-down with Meeks
Jan. 14, 2009
Normally I'd turn out a story for you guys, but my guess is you all would much rather here from the man of the hour - or man of the week, I should say.
Now that you've had a little time to think about Tuesday night, have you been able to put it into perspective?
"I know it was a great thing that happened last night but it hasn't really sunk in what happened last night. It hasn't even been 24 hours so I am still in shock. Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Dan Issell is great to me."
Have you talked to Issel yet, and if so, what did he say?
"He left me a message and I called him back today. He told me great job and that he would be keeping in contact with me and watching me. He told me he was proud that I broke the record and that it could not have happened to a better kid."
Can you describe the feeling of what it is like to hit that many baskets?
"In the first half I had four or five 3-pointers and it felt like every time I had an open look then the ball was going to go in. I guess I was in one of the zones and once I got in that zone, I couldn't get out."
Did you know how many points you had during the game?
"I saw that I had 40 points when I was taken out of the game during the second half. I asked everyone on the bench if I really had 40 points and everyone on the bench said yes and that is why everyone was going crazy. I just looked up at the board and I was like `Wow.' It was unbelievable. When I am in the game I don't really pay attention to points. I just want to help the team win. Coach Gillispie told me after the game that he was very proud of me and that he had never been a part of something like that."
What you did Tuesday night was obviously a huge achievement, but it appears winning comes first for you.
"If we would not have won and I had 54 points then it would have been a bad night. The record is great, but the main thing is winning. I would have fewer points and get the win then have a lot of points and lose. I just wanted to go in and win no matter what."
What was it like going back to class today?
"When I first walked in it looked like everyone's eyes got really big and they were like wow because they didn't know I was going to be in a class with them. A lot of people were telling me good game and to keep it up. I was more tired than anything because I didn't get much sleep after being so hyped up. I just think last night was a great game. I was about half asleep when I was walking to class so I didn't notice anything a lot different than normal. Everyone on campus notices us basketball players when we walk across campus because we are so tall. I got some looks but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary."
How many texts and voicemails did you have on your phone?
"After the game last night I had 150 unread text messages and probably had about another 100 hundred today already. I also had about 50 voicemails last night and I had a bunch more today since I couldn't answer the phone in class. I'm working hard to get back to everyone who sent me a message. It has been mostly friends and family who sent me a bunch of messages. A lot of people have been asking me for tickets for the Georgia game but I don't think I will be able to get everyone in. Sunday will be a tough game because Georgia is a great team and they played Tennessee very close. We will not overlook anyone in our conference because we play in such a tough conference."
What happens next time you step out on the court?
"All I am thinking about is the next game. You have to be like that. If I go out and think I want to get 50 again then it will probably mess me up and I will start trying to do too much. First of all, I know from here on out teams will probably not let me catch the ball and I will have to be patient and take whatever the defense will give me."
What did Bruce Pearl say to you after the game last night?
"I didn't really get a chance to talk to him much because we were all celebrating. He told me great game and I that I played really well. Tennessee still has to come here and that will be a tough game also. We can't get to emotional because it was just one game."
What were the most points you ever scored before last night?
"In high school I scored 32 during my senior year in the state playoffs. In a recreational game I scored 40. I never scored 50 something in one game. I have in a couple games combined. I was just in a zone and my teammates kept looking for me. I would miss a shot and say my bad but my teammates told me to keep shooting. Without my teammates I would not have been able to get the shots I got. I credit them a lot."
Given last season's injuries, how rewarding is it to be playing at this type of level and to have a night like last night?
"It means a lot because last year I was so banged up. It was very frustrating but I just tried to stay strong. My mom and dad and my sisters kept talking to me every day and telling me to hang in there. Once I got surgery and once I got the rehab, I was just focused on winning and having a good season and working as hard as I could to prepare."
What did you do in the offseason to get to the point where you're at now?
"I think for the most part, I've been a scorer. My freshman year I was trying to figure my way out and didn't want to step on anybody's toes, as well as last year - along with being injured and banged up, I was still an underclassmen and didn't want to step on anybody's toes. After my sophomore season, after I got the surgery, I just worked hard on all the aspects of my game. I wanted to come in and prepare well."
Coach Billy Gillispie said he's never seen a guy that exerts as much energy as you. Talk about what your relationship is like with him.
"It's great. He's the kind of coach everybody would love to play for. He gives you a lot freedom on offense as long as you play as hard as you can on defense. As long as I play hard on defense every play, he doesn't mind a bad shot here or there because I'm expending so much energy on the defensive end and trying to help the team win."
Now that you all have opened Southeastern Conference-play with two wins, where do you see this team heading as the rest of the season progresses?
"Our expectations are too always prepare for every game like it's the national championship game. We want to win every game, like everybody else. It's kind of hard to say where we're going to be in late February and March, but I see this team - as we keep progressing and getting better - as something special."
How instrumental has Patrick Patterson been in your development and success this year?
"He's the main catalyst for this team. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't get as many open looks and the chances to create for myself. Everybody sags down on him because he's such a dominant threat in the paint for our big men. I credit him a lot and it's been fun playing with these past few years."
What your dad at the game last night and what did he say?
"He and my uncle were there. After the game I saw him and he was almost in tears he was so proud of me. I was glad he was there to be there for me."
What did your mom say to you?
" She was at home. She was going to come but my sisters had some games and it was a school night. She was emotional too. She just said great game and call her when I landed. I called her today and she was really happy for me."
When you put your parents in tears, what's that say about the performance you put on Tuesday night?
"It was special. Having two family members there was very special for me because it was such a historic night breaking the record and winning. Having family members there was great."
When are you going to relax and take a break from all the interviews and media coverage?
"We have today off. I was going to take today off and get some rest. I have a couple of bumps and bruises from the season so I'm going to rest those. I have to get ready for practice because this weekend is going to be tough on Sunday. Georgia is really good so it's going to be a tough game."
What's the day been like jumping from interview to interview?
"It's something you don't mind. It's a good problem to have and I'm happy to do it."
If you could pick one word to describe Tuesday's performance, what would it be?
"That's a tough one. Amazing, I guess, because it not only shocked people that were watching it, it shocked me too. Even though I had 26 in the first half, I didn't think I would be able to get 28 in the second half. For my teammates to look for me and the coaching staff to call the plays like they did, it was just incredible for me to be a part of it."
What goes through your head when you start hearing about your name being thrown in the National Player of the Year hunt?
"I don't really think about that kind of stuff. I'm just a guy that works hard. I like the attention of the media, but if I don't get it, it's fine. I'm fine flying under the radar. Every time I step in between those lines, I go as hard as I can."