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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Athlete of the week: Joy Hollingsworth

    Athlete of the week: Joy Hollingsworth

    Editor’s Note: Redshirt senior guard Joy Hollingsworth scored 48 points through three games in the past week, including a 22-point performance against Texas-El Paso on Sunday, helping the Wildcats to a 2-1 record. The Arizona Daily Wildcat caught up with Hollingsworth yesterday to talk about her recent success, her cousin on the New York Knicks and her reflections on the Arizona football season.

    Wildcat: You lead the team in points (108), steals (21) and rebounds (46). What kind of work did you put in this offseason that helped you come up with such impressive numbers?

    Hollingsworth: I owe all the credit to the strength and conditioning staff. They helped me lose 20 pounds so I could become a lot quicker and stronger over the summer. It was kind of like working out with the football team outside in the heat. It was quite fun.

    W: You guys have had some trouble holding leads and closing out games this season. What does the team have to do to stay strong through the entire 40 minutes?

    H: I think we just have to keep our defensive intensity up. (UA head) coach (Joan Bonvicini) tells us that defense wins games. If we continue to do that for 40 minutes, we should be fine this season.

    W: Do you ever feel that other people have to step up on the team?

    H: They will. Night in and night out, it might be a different person stepping up. We just have to feed off each other’s energy. One night it might be (guard) Ashley (Whisonant) stepping up. Or it could be (forward) Rheya (Neabors) or (center) Suzy (Bofia). Any night it can come from any of us.

    W: Is it nice to be back at home for a while after going on two big roadtrips?

    H: Oh, definitely. I had so much homework. Oh, you meant basketballwise? To play in front of our home crowd and wear the white jerseys is always a plus. It’s always nice to get back to Tucson and get positive energy from our fans.

    W: How different is this year’s team from last year?

    H: I think we’re definitely a lot more relaxed. I think last year it kind of took a mental blow when (Shawntinice) “”Polkey”” (Polk) passed away. This year we just have a good time. Every day there’s so much competition on the team.

    W: Be honest. Do you ever get either of the sets of twins confused?

    H: At first, with Rheya and Rhaya, it was so hard. They’re super hard to tell apart. Coach B mixes them up every day in practice. She will be like, “”Which one of you guys shot that layup?””

    W: You seem to have a family full of basketball stars. Your uncle, Bruce Seals, played professional basketball in the ABA with the Utah Stars and the Seattle Supersonics, and your cousin is Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks. Were you born with a basketball in your hands?

    H: Not really. I was born with a golf club in my hand because my dad golfed and really wanted me to play golf. But basketballwise, my uncle got me into it. I’ve loved the sport ever since I started playing it in third grade.

    W: How good is that relationship between you and Nate?

    H: When he was at U-Dub (Washington), we would talk, like, once a week about basketball and stuff like that. Now that he’s in the NBA, we probably talk, like, once a month. I saw him over the summer a bunch of times back home in Seattle, but he has the life of an NBA star. We don’t talk as much as we did when he was in college, which is kind of sad. But it’s all right, I understand.

    W: Have you ever played each other one-on-one?

    H: I remember in high school we used to have competitions to see who would shoot better. I would always win, but he could always jump higher and try to dunk. He would tell me to do that, but I couldn’t do that, obviously. He’s a little bigger. We never played one-on-one because I think he would kill me. My confidence would go right down the drain. Ha-ha.

    W: So we shouldn’t expect you to pull off a crazy dunk before your career is over? Nate was pretty impressive in last year’s NBA slam dunk contest.

    H: Maybe if I had a chair or something. I’ll probably have a better 3-point shooting percentage than he will for the season. Ha-ha.

    W: What’s the story on Ashley Whisonant’s monkey?

    H: Oh, Sebastian? She takes him everywhere. He’s really cute.

    W: Is it an actual monkey?

    H: Oh, no, it’s a stuffed animal monkey. He’s really cute though, you have to see him. He wears tennis shoes and always matches. Sometimes he’ll wear a sweatshirt and glasses. It’s really funny.

    W: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

    H: I’ve played the piano for 11 years now. I like to play R&B, like Alicia Keys, John Legend, Tupac, a little bit of BeyoncǸ – that kind of stuff.

    W: Were you pretty bummed to find out Arizona’s probably not going to make a bowl game?

    H: I’m super sad. I’m friends with a lot of them, and you always want your friends to do well. They improved from last year, going .500. They have just got to get ready for next year. I think next year they’ll be really good, but now, I’m just really sad.

    – Interview by Mike Ritter

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