Had a chance to catchup with former Husky Adrian Oliver, who makes his first and possibly only return to Montlake on Friday when Washington plays San Jose State. Here’s our story for the paper.
AN INTERVIEW WITH ADRIAN OLIVER:
(What are your thoughts as this game approachs?) “I’m just taking it as another game. I know I went there. I know I’ve had history there, but it’s kind of bittersweet because I still have a lot of love for the guys and coach Romar. When I watch them on TV, I pull for them. But now I’m here and now I’m going to be on the opposite side of coach Romar. It’s not a game where I feel I have something to prove or I’m playing for revenge. It’s just a game that I’m going to go out and play hard and I feel like my team has something to prove.
(Why do you say bittersweet”) “Because I have a lot of memories there. It’s where I started my college career. It’s where I became a man being away from home. I’ve been up there about 2-3 times since I’ve transferred to visit some friends and it was a little weird. Driving from the airport. Seeing downtown. Seeing the campus. I had a lot of time to myself there. It’s where I learned to be an adult. So I say it’s bittersweet aside from basketball.
Photo credit: San Jose State University
(Will you have to manage your emotions?) “Yes and no. I’m pretty good with that. I don’t let my emotions show on the day of the game. I pretty much keep a straight face throughout the game. I can’t let my emotions get in the game because that would alter my judgement. I don’t think my emotions will be a problem. I know I’ll have a lot of energy like I do for every game, but just the fact that I’m coming back to the UW I don’t think I’ll have a problem with my emotions.”
(Is Quincy the only guy you played with?) “Nah. I played with Venoy (Overton) for a little bit. I played with Matthew (Bryan-Amaning). I played with Darnell (Gant). I played with Isaiah (Thomas) during the summer. Just the only guys that I haven’t played with are the freshmen from last year and the freshmen from this year.”
(How much do you stay in contact with your old teammates?) “Me and Q we talked once this summer on the phone. We text each other every now and then. I kept in contact with coach Romar. I keep in contact with Spencer (Hawes).”
(Do you ever play the what-if game?) “Nah I don’t. I made my decision and I’m happy with that decision. Things come up in life to where you can’t control it. That’s the way I look at things. That’s the way I live. There could be a lot of what-ifs obviously. But I made my decision to come here and I’m happy with it. Q committed to stay and I’m happy for him that he’s doing really well. And Spencer and Phil both made their decision. Spencer is obviously doing well and so is Phil. I think it all worked out for the best. You could say what-if, but you could say that in a lot of cases for a lot of players.”
(What happened when you transferred?)
“It wasn’t nothing out of the normal going on. I had some family issues back home that was on my mind a lot. It was constantly on my mind while I was playing. Should I be here right now or with my family back at home. My family – even though basketball is most important thing in my life – it comes second to my family and God. It was a hard decision to make because I chose Washington for a reason, but it was an easy decision at the same time because my family had to come first. Even though they told me not to worry, still I’m a family guy so I wanted to come somewhere closer to home. It was nothing against the team. Nothing against coach Romar. Like I said, I have a lot of love for them and I appreciate the opportunity that they gave me.”
(Is everything okay with your family now?) “Oh yeah. Everything is fine.”
(How much do you talk with Phil?) “Just like Quincy, we text and keep in touch. We usually keep in touch sometimes in the summer, but mostly during the season. I’ll ask him how he did after games. Or he’ll see how I did. When I was transferring, he actually called me and was trying to sell Portland State to me, which I thought was kind of funny. Other than that, I keep in contact with him. Not as much, but we still keep in contact.
(Did you see his game against UW on Sunday?) “Oh yeah. I watched it on film. I watch every game on film of our opponents. I watch film all day. Rather than watch TV, I’d rather watch film. I saw that game. He came out strong, but he just couldn’t finish through with the effort.”
(How is Quincy different as a player?) “He may have been worried about what people said about him his first year because it’s a transition. And no one knows how long a player is going to take to make the transition (from high school to college). I think now, he’s just playing ball and it’s obvious. He’s playing just as hard, but now the team is looking him more to be a leader and he’s stepping up.
(How are you different as a player?) “I’m different in a way that my mind is clear. I’m not worrying as much. Like I said, I’m not worrying about stuff outside of basketball (affecting) my family and things like that. I can just play happy and play free. And when that happens, everything comes together. And I’m just playing with confidence.”
(Do you want to go into any of the family stuff?) “It was on my mind a lot my freshman year. But I’d rather not talk about it. People ask me, but it’s something I’d rather keep private.”
(Who was the first person to leave?) “I was the last person to leave. Out of the four of us, we all kind of knew that Phil might want to leave, but it was still a shock because he kind of did it right after our freshman year. And Spencer took the summer to think about his decision and then he made his decision. And then I was the last one to go.”
(Was it harder for you to transfer after Hawes and Nelson left?) “No because people are going to do what they have to do. They have their own reasons. Phil had his reasons. Spencer had his reasons. I couldn’t base my decisions on what they were doing. It was tough though. We were close as a class. We were a pretty high-ranked class. We had that pride that we want to prove we’re as good as advertised, but some things just don’t work out the way people think they should.”
(It seems like you’re very happy in San Jose.) “I’m very happy here. I feel like I made the right decision. I don’t regret it one bit. I just came in here. Coach (George) Nessman, he knew my game as high school player. He knew what I was capable of doing. And from day 1 he said go out there and play and make good decisions. And that’s what I’m doing. Last year was a weird year. I had to sit out the whole year. Played last year. I was doing pretty well. It was actually the game against Boise State at home. Coach Romar was in the stands. and the second half I came down on my ankle and I rolled it really bad to where I tore a couple of ligaments in my foot. That hindered me throughout the whole year. I tried to play on it, but it got worse. I missed five games and came back. It was a year of being patient again. I had to be patient the year before. I had to sit out and watch. Then to come back, do well, this happened and be patient again.I’m excited for this year because I’m finally back to 100 percent and playing without holding back.”
(Which position are you playing?) “They have me at the 2 and 1.”
(You know it’s going to be crazy and the Dawg Pack is going to do their thing, right?) “Oh yeah. I know that. It will be fun.”