Jan. 23, 2004
Throughout the 2003-04 basketball season, GoLobos.com will be conducting "Ask the Coach/Player" sessions with different Lobo men's basketball coaches and players.
This week's featured guest is sophomore guard Jeff Hart. Hart is one of four Lobos on this year's roster who graduated from an Albuquerque high school. Jeff was a standout athlete at Sandia HS, earning letter in both basketball and track before graduating in 2002. He was a McDonald's All-American nominee in basketball and ran the third leg of Sandia's New Mexico 5A 4x100 meter relay state championship team. Last season, Jeff played in every game with the Lobos, starting five times and scoring a career-high 15 points against IPFW on December 6, 2002.
So far this season, Jeff has not played the same amount of minutes he played as a freshman, mainly due to the influx of talented player on this year's Lobo team. However, Jeff is still called upon in situations where the Lobos need a quick three or a spark off the bench. Hart's role now involves working on the scout team in practice and preparing the Lobos for their opponent. What ever his role, Jeff is a very important part of the program and is a huge reason why the Lobos are back on their way to the top of the Mountain West Conference.
Below are answers to some of the questions you submitted for Jeff.
Hey Jeff i saw you play in high school a few times you rocked! What city is the toughest to play on the road in the MWC? (Tammy - Rio Rancho, N.M.)
JH: I think the toughest place to play is Air Force. Just their environment is different. There's not that many people there and they are going to play hard no matter what. They are used to their gym and they are going to play hard if there are fans there or not.
Hey Jeff, what do hope to accomplish this year? Do you have any goals for yourself? (Sarah - Rio Rancho N.M)
JH: I think my goals are the same every year. I just want to work hard and do what I can for the team. I'll keep working at my game and if I can start playing some more, great. If not, then I will do what ever I need to do for my team.
Jeff, it's always great to see local players don a Lobo uniform. Do you have any regrets about not enrolling at a smaller university where you may have contributed more, and gotten more playing time? (Theo Barela - Boise, Idaho)
JH: I don't think I have any regrets. I always think about what it would have been like if I would have gone to a smaller university, but the coaches, players and fans make this place better than anywhere else, regardless of playing time.
Hi Jeff, you are a great player you are all my daughter talks about. What is the most important thing that this year's team must learn how to do well in order to be successful in conference play, or in any game you guys play? (Linda - Rio Rancho, N.M.)
JH: Defense. We've come out a couple of games this year and played great defense early in the game, allowing only a couple of points. If we can get back to doing that then we will go pretty far.
Hi Jeff!! I hope you are doing well. I wanted to know if fans are important to you and do you keep in touch with them?? Thanks. (Sam - Rio Rancho, N.M.)
JH: Actually, yeah. I keep in touch with a lot of fans. I know a lot of people who have been going to games for a while. Any fans that I talk to are friends of mine.
How does it feel to be a Lobo basketball player, and to have the fans cheering for the team and getting into the game? Good luck with the rest of the season. Go Lobos (Shanna)
JH: Well, it depends on how the team is doing actually. If we are winning and the fans are getting into it, you can't beat it. It is the best feeling. There are the times when we are not doing too well and the fans are kind of quite.
Congratulations on being named MWC Scholar Athlete this past spring. I noticed you were one of only two men's basketball scholar athletes in the whole conference. How do you balance your academics with you college ball? Is this hard to do? (Gene - Texas)
JH: You've just got to focus. You've got to practice when it's time to practice and do school work when it's time to do school work. If you have time for anything else you can get it done in between, but there's usually not time. It's basketball and school if you want to get it done. It's not that hard.