I recently had the pleasure to talk to Seton Hall Senior Guard Dez Elmore. The senior is averaging 14.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
SH: What are some of the main differences in the routine, from this year to last year due to Covid?
Dez Elmore: When you walk around the facility, there’s nobody there besides players and staff. At the games there are no fans, and the atmosphere is just different. You can wake up do your normal routine, go to practice, expect to do the same thing. Then boom, you can’t practice, no gym. They’re have been times, were either on our way, or just get to the facility and things get canceled. There have been times for away games, people drive to the arena, and once they pull up, they’re told they have to leave.
SH: Does that effect your pregame routine, or do you try to keep it as normal as possible?
Dez Elmore: I try to keep myself as focused, and as within my routine as possible. Breaking that routine, can easily break focus. When you are expected not to play, but then you can play you have to be ready for whatever comes. For home games, I try to put some shots up. Then I try to relax my body, get some treatment.
SH: After leading the team in scoring ten times last season, was that something you wanted to build on this year?
Dez Elmore: Not really, that’s not really my focal point this year. My focal point, especially this year is going to be one of the top scouts on the opposing teams scouting report. After going through last season, and the new team we have, I’m not thinking about scoring in that type of aspect. I try to focus more on how to opposing team will guard me, and getting my teammates involved too. Obviously they’re trying to shut me down, as long as my teammates have my back, we’ll be successful.
SH: Being a leader on this team, how were you able to mold yourself into this role?
Dez Elmore: I learned early on from my time at Syracuse. Especially coming from Syracuse, when my Senior year of High School was the year they played UConn in the Championship. In my Freshman year, I was playing behind the twins, Briana and Bria Day. Those two were on me in practice every day, literally always on me. At the time, I thought they hated me cause I was the Freshman.
I was still trying to learn, but now as a Senior looking back on it, the cycles come around. I understand why, nobody thought I’d leave Syracuse, so there’s a certain way things are done in that system. For me to be successful in that situation, there were things I needed to pick up on quickly. There were also things I had to make sure I was doing to the best of my ability, if not, there was no way I could have been successful.
SH: When you were growing up, what player did you play like?
Dez Elmore: That’s a tough question, I’ve been told I play like Zach Randolph, from the Memphis Grizzlies. However, I don’t see it, the player I’ve always tried to play like was LeBron James, or Maya Moore. Those are the two, that I tried to mimic my game after. Both are great scorers, but what I like more is their ability to get teammates involved. With LeBron, you know by the end of the year all of his teammates are going to evolve. All of them fill a role perfectly. Watching Laker basketball, is great basketball. Same with the Lynx.
SH: What players influenced your game the most?
Dez Elmore: One of the reasons for me to start playing basketball was, my brother and father. The two of them definitely had a big influence on my game. When I’d watch my brother play, he was the player who’d sacrifice his body. Whenever id go to one of his games, he’d always be taking charges, jumping on the floor for loose balls. Watching him play, and the energy he would bring by making those hustle plays inspired me. He taught me how to take charges. My dad was my coach growing up. He taught me how to see the game from a different point of view.
I then asked Dez how old she was when she first beat her dad, her face got a big smile and she said: “he won’t play me anymore, because he knows he’ll lose.”
SH: How do you feel about Walk-on players?
Dez Elmore: Walk-ons are special players. They get this bad stigma around them like, they’re no good, they wont play, but thats not the case. One of our former walk-ons,