Monday, November 14, 2016
Uno En Uno With: Karn Goraya, Conrad Hoops
ZS: As a bigger guard on a team laced with guards, what role does coach (Ryan) Rodriguez envision for you and which responsibilities does he entrust in you on a night in, night out basis?
KG: Coach Ryan and I have a great relationship. He puts a lot of responsibility in me and pushes me to play up to my abilities at all times. He really emphasizes that I guard the 1-3 positions and that make my presence known on both ends of the floor. Defense is an aspect of the game he's very high on and he wants our identity to be as a team that makes it ugly for opponents. The other day, against Fort Lauderdale Prep, I had the task of guarding a 6-foot-8 guy. And I'm only 6-feet-2. So, I understand I'm going to play out of position because we have a lot of little guys that can shoot.
ZS: How would you describe the transition Reno High to TCA? What are some of the main aspects you've had to adjust to and how have you acclimated to the prep competition?
KG: Here at Conrad, I'm more of a scorer. I look for my shot more as opposed to being a dish-first guard like I was in Reno. My shooting has increased tremendously, most notably because I shoot 500-600 jumpers a day and have more time to work on my game given the prep schedule. I've been in the weight room a lot more and I feel the effects of it in rebounding and everything, basically.
The prep competition is a bit different because there are guys who are 6-foot-10, 6-foot-11, and have already signed Division-I scholarships. I try to go harder and match their effort, it gives me more motivation when I play against a guy who has an offer and I don't. I want to prove myself every time I'm on the floor.
ZS: What aspects led you to take the prep route and what do you hope to accomplish in this one season?
KG: I wanted to expand my game to the point where basketball and a full scholarship was more of a reality to me. I averaged 12 points, four assists, and four rebounds at Reno. I had the opportunity to play alongside my man David Kyle, who is now playing Division-I ball at UNR. I played primarily as a point but wanted to become more comfortable playing the two-guard position and continuing to develop my shot. I figured it would help me get to the next level, as I decided I wanted to be more serous about basketball.
ZS: What's been key to the team chemistry and how do you make up for a lack of size on a guard-laden team?
KG: We all connect and have fun off the court, which translates to our play on the court. Everyone respects everyone's game and we have a great overall team identity. We atone for our lack of size by being a strong 3-point shooting team and also thriving in a fast style of play. Guys are starting are show out at the right time. T.J. Gittens had about 20 points the other day is starting to show that he's hungry for a scholarship. Also, Shawn Doctrine has been efficient on the glass and is really playing with a sense of pride of urgency.
ZS: What's the basketball presence like in Reno and how serious is the sport?
KG: In Reno, basketball is one of the main sports. There's a big culture for basketball as high school basketball is really big. Gyms are packed at every game. I miss that. Ramon Sessions came out of UNR, Javale McGee went to UNR as well. So, those guys being there put the school on the map.
ZS: Where do you see yourself next year and which type of situation would suit you the best?
KG: Whether it's low Division-1 or high Division-II, I will just be grateful too keep playing. I see myself as a one or a two at the next level, a stocky guard who can make plays on both sides of the floor. I think the conditioning aspect here as prepared me so that when I do get to college, it won't be a quantum leap or anything like that. I just love to play ball, that's what I do.