Freshman forward Marcus Santos-Silva has begun to make a name for himself on the Black and Gold court. Contributing 90 points to the 26 games he has played so far, the Massachusetts native from Vermont Academy isn’t ready to stop there. The CT sat down with Santos-Silva to see how the freshman dynamo is adjusting to the collegiate level.
What have been some of the struggles you have faced so far this season?
Being consistent, and also playing dudes that are older and stronger than you. That was my real struggle, and sometimes the pace of the game.
What do you find is your biggest competition?
Definitely Rhode Island; Richmond, they beat us twice, that was bad, and then Dayton.
What are things you’re looking to improve on and work on?
More confidence down low, and more trust in my teammates.
How would you describe your game play on the court?
I just think of one thing, and that’s just do whatever I can to help the team win. Like our coach says to us, ‘Nothing but a W.’ So, basically he’s saying, ‘Don’t think about anything else, just think about what can you for this to get this win.’ That’s what I really focus on, and my game just goes on from there, whatever happens on the court. Things I’m good at here is being the hustle guy, I have a lot of energy, my motor, rebound and score down low, and being physical.
Do you have any go-to strategies or moves to get out of a tough situation?
Yeah, if I get double teamed, I try to use my shoulders ’cause I’m big. I try to create space, and if I’m in a tough position to score, I’ll try to use them again so I can create space and get an easy bucket.
What do you consider your biggest strengths?
Definitely my motor. When I get going, my energy feeds off to the team and everyone just starts to go.
What do you consider your weaknesses?
My weaknesses are finishing with my right hand. I need to work on that more. That’s really it.
What is a typical day of training look like for you?
For practice, after class ends around 12:00, we’ll go to the BDC (basketball development center), get taped around 12:30, and then 1:30 we’ll have lift, then 2:00 we’ll have practice. Then we’ll end practice, then that’s it for the day. After practice, we’ll get what (Rhoades) calls vitamins. We’ll get shots up and stuff.
For me, if there’s nothing going on in the day, I’ll wake up, go to the BDC, and get a workout in with one of my GAs (graduate assistant), and then after that I’ll go use the hot tub or the cold tub. I get a 45 minute workout in.
How would you describe the transition from playing high school to college?
At first, people were saying it’s a huge difference. I didn’t think about it, but it definitely is. In high school, everyone who plays division one, they used to be the main guy at their old high school, and it was easy for them. Here, you’re playing a lot of guys that were the best player in their state or on their team, and everyone’s stronger. There’ll be games I’ll probably play someone that’s like 25. There’s more guys who are experienced, so that’s what is really different from high school in college.
What made you decide to play for VCU?
When I came here on my visit, I just felt the connection, the love from the city and everything. When I saw the Siegel Center, when they told me all the stuff about the crazy games, it was just crazy. I was like, “Yeah, I could definitely see myself playing here.” Also, the practice facility center, I feel like whenever they show anyone, everyone gets excited because it’s huge and it’s new and everyone likes it. There’s a family atmosphere here.
Did you ever find yourself questioning your decision when Will Wade announced he was leaving the program and Mike Rhoades was replacing him?
I think everyone, the four recruits who were committed to Wade, I feel like we all did question. I definitely did, because when I saw it, he didn’t even call. I just saw it on ESPN. I got a notification, and honestly I was about to call and say, “I would like to come out of my commitment,” but Rhoades, he came and called me the next day and was like, “I would like to come see you and your family this weekend.” Wade never did that, so I was like, I’ll give it a shot, let me see. That’s when I knew he really cared. Once he came and talked to us and he was funny with my family, I knew he cared about me and what I was doing. So, it was a great decision for me to just stay.
What do you think is your best game you’ve played so far here at VCU?
I don’t think I had that yet, but right now this year, I think it was definitely the Texas game, ’cause that’s when I think everyone started to know who I was and what I could really do.
Do you think, or did you find that the freshman class merged well with everyone else that was on the team?
Yeah, we definitely did, we all get along. It’s like we’re all brothers and we all trust each other.
What are your goals for the rest of the season, for you personally and for the team?
For the team, it’s definitely finish in the top two of the A-10, and then also for us is to win the A10 Tournament so we could get to the (NCAA) tournament. And then for me is just keep on playing hard and do whatever my teammates need me to do for them on the court, and what the coaches need me to do.
How would you describe yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?
I’m a caring guy. I also talk a lot and I’m a goofy kid. I can’t really take anything serious. I feel like people would like me because of that.
What is your biggest inspiration?
My family, my mom and dad, because of what they did for me to be where I’m at now. I just want to do everything I can to support them.
If you could play for any professional team, which one would it be?
Celtics, my hometown.
What’s your favorite thing to do on campus?
Mostly I just stay in. I just play video games and just relax, that’s all. I really don’t go out that much because of the season and stuff.
Jessica Wetzler, staff writer