Can you spin on a static pole?

That’s the way I started spinning. They were like, well we don’t want that. Now I’m just thinking: “How do you learn where to move the pole like that when you can’t actually spin it?” So I started just doing things by myself and I would learn more by doing things by myself than with anybody. So basically to learn that technique you have to learn it in one day. But I got hooked on my technique really quickly. I was doing it, like, twice a day and then when I would get tired of it, then I would just move on by myself. I would find out what was working for me. That’s the way I learned it in a week. I remember when it was like, “Oh my god I can spin like that!”

What do you think has been the biggest difference in your life between the days at high school and now?

I just think the things I was doing when I was in high school was just, that’s what I was doing [laughs]. I think that the thing that was so impressive for me was when I would get tired of spinning around, it would actually make me feel like a better athlete and it made me kind of feel like I wasn’t just spinning around just to have the ability to feel better. It turned out that it made me feel like I could actually spin faster. My hands stopped flapping and that was the best part. I would actually find that I just didn’t feel like I could actually throw the ball very far. I found me actually getting more distance out of my throws, but that actually made me want to increase the distance I could throw the ball. There’s just a different way of doing those things and also it gave me a new focus and a passion for the sport, which has been just the biggest thing that I’ve got in my life.

You are now a sophomore at UC-Davis. How is this year going for you and were you excited?

Well I kind of feel like the whole country is going to get excited for me. [laughter and applause] The high school teams, you know they love me and you know I love them but in the NCAA, you know the fans don’t love me when I do well, but they love me when I do poorly. I’ve been feeling great. I’ve felt like an All-American for two years and now I’ve kind of hit a wall with my last year. It still sucks if I don’t get the scholarship and