Had a fun time talking to Washington State center Jordan Railey earlier this week for this story about his recent success on the basketball court and his relationship with his 20-month-old daughter Blakeley.
Here’s the transcript from that interview.
(On the season) “It’s guys coming into their own and fitting into this system and understanding the system. I think we all had a great connection with Coach Kent and his staff in the beginning when they first arrived on campus, but I think definitely now at this point we’re finally understanding his concepts and his blueprint as he likes to call it and what he likes to get accomplished on the floor. I think everything is just kind of falling into place now and we’re just going to continue to grow as a team.”
(On Kent’s concepts) “Get up and down. Rebound and outlet the ball and try to get down the floor as fast as possible. And play great defense. Defense is what allows you to get out and run the floor. If you have teams making a lot of shots on you it’s hard to really get out and run and get that pace going. But if you’re playing great defense and rebounding the ball, you can really get out and push tempo. I think that’s his biggest idea for our game plan.”
(On Kent and confidence) “Him and his staff are always trying to instill confidence in us. Part of that being in practice we get up a lot of shots. We shoot a lot of free throws. We’re always doing shooting games where there’s competitions. You’re trying to make shots with a partner. I’m trying to get to a certain number of made shots in a certain amount of time. I think all of that builds your confidence. He’s also always telling you if you’re open take the shot. If you have a driving lane, drive. All of that makes your team and your personal confidence just grow. And the confidence with one another just grows also. I think everybody has confidence in each other to make wide-open shots. So everybody is comfortable with everybody taking shots also.”
(On Cal game) “The guys just had a lot of confidence in me to go score. I started out a little bit slow, but I had DaVonte (Lacy) and a couple of the other guys tell me to keep posting up. Keep going to work. That only helps. The last couple of games have been confidence boosters as far as how I’ve been playing. It was just kind of long time coming. I’m not expecting myself to score that many points every single game, but it definitely was a big confidence booster to know that I was capable of doing that.”
(On scoring big every game) “I always go with the mentality of doing whatever it takes to get the W. DaVonte is a great scorer. We got a lot of great scorers on this team. Obviously Josh (Hawkinson) has been scoring the ball really well. DaVonte can score the ball really well. Brett (Boese) has been knocking down threes. I think that’s the great part about this offense is it gives everybody a chance to what coach Kent calls have their night. Anybody can go off for X amount of points on any given night just because of how are system works. If it’s someone else’s night, so be it. If Brett is hitting a lot of shots, then I’m going to get him more shots. That’s how I look at it.”
(On Upshaw) “Everybody knows that he’s a great shot blocker. I think it’s going to be a great game as far as all-around play. We have a guy named Val that’s on our team. He’s redshirting this year and he’s a shot blocker also. He’s athletic and 6-10 and can jump through the roof. So we talk about that a lot. Going up against Val in practice, you don’t see that every game. And with Upshaw, it’s kind of like a similar situation. But it will definitely be fun to play against him. At the same time I’m just really focused on the game overall and not necessarily an individual 1-on-1 battle between me and him because I don’t think it’ll turn into that. But it will definitely be a good game and good competition to go up against somebody like him and his caliber of play. It will be fun all-around to play against him.”
(On the UW-WSU rivalry) “We know it matters to our fans. As far as the bitter rivalry goes, I don’t know if the players have that sometimes because a lot of us know each other from home, from high school and stuff. I know Nigel (Williams-Goss) and Andrew (Andrews) from back home. They’re both from Portland. I know those guys really well. As far as that bitter rivalry goes, it’s hard to say that it’s there. But we definitely want to win because we don’t want to hear those guys when we go back home talk about it. That’s more the case for us.”
(On how he’s changed) “I’ve definitely gotten a little bit more aggressive as far as trying to score towards the basket. I probably shot a lot more jump shots at Iowa State then I have here. I’ve gotten stronger. I really feel like I’ve matured as far as posting up and really trying to be aggressive towards the basket. Defensively I feel like I’ve grown. I’ve gotten better at not fouling as much. Standing straight up when guys drive into the lane and things like that.”
(On Iowa State) “They shot a lot of threes and I’m not a three-point shooter. I have a lot of respect for coach (Fred) Hoiberg. I think he’s one of the great coaches in the Big 12 and in the nation also. I just didn’t think I fit the system very well. I think he understood that also. He understood that I’m more of post-up guy also than shooting jump shots. It was definitely a mutual feeling I think. We definitely had a good relationship while I was there.”
(On T.J. Otzelberger) “He’s the guy that recruited me. I’m really close with him. It’s definitely interesting. I was a little hurt when he went to UW because he left after my redshirt year. So I texted him and I was like ‘T.J. how are you going to go do UW?’ And he was like it just kind of worked out like that. But it’s definitely fun. I ran into him when we were down at Cal. They ended up at the same hotel as us when we were swapping games. I got to talk to him a little bit there and catch up with him. We don’t speak the week before the games. Last year we didn’t speak the week before the games just because I don’t think you can do that. But it’s definitely fun going up against him considering how close we are.”
(On 1-year-old daughter) “It definitely makes you mature a lot faster because you have a mouth to feed and make sure you provide for. It kind of gives you almost an extra drive to push towards the amount of success you want to have. Not that you’re not already, but it definitely puts things to you’re not just feeding yourself or feeding your family that raised you, you’re also feeding the family that you started. It’s a new reality. It makes you want to work that much harder and take things to the next level.”
(On daughter) “She looks just like me, but she acts like my little brother in the sense that they’re just spit fire attitudes. They want what they want. The now-attitude. My little brother when he was her age he was the same exact way. It’s kind of funny because she looks so much like me. I was very laid back and calm and collected all the time. Her and my brother are just I want this, give it to me now and it’s my way or the highway type of attitude almost.
(On daughter) “I see her whenever we’re in town I see her. Her mom goes to school here also. I usually have her stay with me on the nights that I have an off day the next day. Then I’ll see her throughout the week and stuff, just here and there whenever I have time to go see her. … I have an apartment here in Pullman so she’ll come and stay with me for sure one night out of the week if not two. Hopefully I can have her more nights because now I’m down to two online classes that I have to take to graduate this next semester. So I’ll have more time with her during the day to do stuff before practice.”
(On being strict or lenient) ““I’m probably more lenient than her mom. As far as being strict, I’m only strict when it comes to her throwing tantrums. She knows I don’t do the whole tantrum thing. I’m just like no you’re not doing that. She knows when she’s with me she can’t get away with much, but me and her definitely have fun. We always joke around. She loves listening to music and so do I. I always have music playing and we dance and jump around and stuff. For some reason she loves running underneath my legs. So whenever we’re dancing she always finds her way running in between my legs while I’m standing up. It’s pretty fun. But I don’t know how much longer that’s going to last because she’s getting pretty tall too.’
(On life after WSU) “Hopefully keep playing wherever that’s at. That’s the goal to keep playing basketball until the wheels fall off. That’s what I always tell people. I want to play basketball for as long as I can. Then hopefully get into college coaching at some point whenever my playing career is over with.”