As a season ticket holder in student section, I've really enjoyed watching your game thus far. Especially exciting is the concentration you devote to seeing the whole court whenever you have the ball, looking for passing opportunities to set up your teammates. Bruin fans I talk to really appreciate this part of your game. My question is in regards to your training/workout routine. For both your high school career and now your time in college, how much do you practice shooting? Also, what drills and practice techniques helped improve your passing abilities, aside from scrimmages?
Jason Kapono: "I practice my shooting a lot. I'd say that throughout my high school career I spent a lot of time, probably about an hour a day taking somewhere around 300 to 400 shots on my jumpshot alone. Now that I've gotten into college, I've tried to keep that the same. There isn't as much time now with school, tutoring and weights and all that, but I try and take about an hour out and do that if I can. As far as my passing abilities, I really don't think you can practice that. That is something that a player just has. I just try and practice on keeping it solid and making the smart play instead of the creative or flashy play. I just try and keep it simple."
Dan R. Young (Culver City, CA)
In the game against Purdue, I was very impressed with your ability to handle the point guard position after Earl Watson had fouled out. While your versatility makes you very valuable, at which position do you feel your future in the professional game lies: point guard, shooting guard, or small forward?
Jason Kapono: "I feel very honored that you think I will someday be a pro player and hopefully that will happen because it is definitely a goal of mine. I think my most comfortable position, even though we don't have it, is at the point-forward. When I'm playing kind of a Grant Hill/Scottie Pippen type of role. It's a role that, even though I'm 6-8, I can still bring the ball up the floor and play a point guard type position. This is the role where I feel that I can help my team out the most."
Matt and Emily Vuoso (San Pedro, CA)
As president of your fan club and on behalf of the other members I would like to ask this - In a past article we read that you can also cook. Is this true? If so, what is your specialty and where did you learn? Another article said that you were 1/4 Hawaiian. Is there any part of you that is Italian?
Jason Kapono: Yeah, I know how to cook. However, I really don't have a special thing that I like to cook. I just like cooking everything. And no I'm not Italian. I have no Italian in me. I have some Hawaiian and Portuguese, but no Italian."
Carlo Medina (Los Angeles, CA)
You are the consummate team player, and an outstanding yet still unselfish player. You play very structured and disciplined basketball, something that any college program needs more than "superstar" mentality players. Do you feel that you are the "go-to" guy now on this team? You've had the last shot two times now, and although you missed one, I couldn't think of a better person to take that shot than you. Are you comfortable with that role, being only a freshman? Rest assured that you already play with the maturity of a senior.
Jason Kapono: "I would like to be known as the "go-to" guy. I play with a lot of confidence and I'm not too worried about taking the last shot and missing it and getting ripped by people. I willing to take that because I feel that if you want to be a great player you have to come through during the clutch times during a game. And I'm not too worried about being only a freshman and having a big part in this team. I came in here with the mindset that I'm just going to play my game and help our team win. I appreciate your nice compliments."
Sharona Sokolow (Encino, CA)
I think you are one of the most talented, confident freshman I have seen in a while. You play with such precise knowledge of what is going on and what needs to be done to secure the win. Do you feel any pressure being playing a leadership role at UCLA? How was the transition going from High School basketball to your position now in an elite NCAA basketball team?
Jason Kapono: "I don't really feel pressured. The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. I think that I can bring so much to the game, so if I don't play well one night or I don't come out bringing my best, the only pressure I feel is what I put on myself. As far as the transition from high school to college, I'd have to say it is a huge step. Not just in terms of basketball either. There is so much time that you have to put into everything and that is what I find most difficult. You have practice in the morning, then you go to class and then have practice again in the afternoon. Then at night you have study hall and tutoring. My biggest problem is just finding time to fit everything in."