Dec. 30, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. - Freshman forward/center Devanei Hampton leads Cal in scoring at 14.1 ppg and is second in rebounding at 6.5 rpg entering tonight's Pac-10 home-opener against UCLA. Hampton, who is one of two McDonald's All-Americans from Oakland on this year's Cal team, sat down with CalBears.com the day before the game with the Bruins to discuss the season and her adjustment to college basketball.
CalBears.com: How do you evaluate your performance so far this season?
Hampton: "I'm doing okay. I have a lot of things to work on, but I'm trying to be there for my team. I do what I can. Offense comes easier for me. I'm working on my defense. I want to make my defender work hard. That's always a plus for me."
CalBears.com: What are you doing to improve on your free throw shooting?
Hampton: "It's coming along. I have to make some before and after practice. It should come soon. Coach (Kim) Hairston helps me work on it more. I just need more repetition. I change my shot on free throws. I need to be consistent with the ones I make."
CalBears.com: How did your fall classes go?
Hampton: "I did well. I posted a B average. Before college, I wasn't a big essay writer. But, my tutor taught me how to be a better writer. I spent a lot of time talking to my teachers. Coach (Lindsay) Gottlieb also schedules a lot of study halls. You had to get good grades."
CalBears.com: Has playing with your high school teammate, Alexis Gray-Lawson, lived up to your expectations?
Hampton: "It's good. She isn't going anywhere (smile). On the court, she knows how to give me the ball, and I know what she likes to do. There's a lot of chemistry from all these years playing together."
CalBears.com: Has having Gray-Lawson at Cal helped make the transition to college easier for you?
Hampton: "She's a good guard. I tell her that she's my favorite point guard (smile). Her and Ivory Latta (North Carolina's point guard) are my favorites. Lexi can do it all. She can dribble and shoot. She tries to be me. She can bang down there with post players. That's what people don't understand about her."
CalBears.com: Who are your role models?
Hampton: "My mom, my grandmother, my aunt and Pico (high school coach) have helped me a lot. Right now, the reason why I'm here at Cal is for my sisters so that they can have a better life and not live the life that I did."
CalBears.com: Is it important for you to be a role model to children where you grew up?
Hampton: "I tell kids to study and stay in school to make things easy on themselves. Then, they can go anywhere they want to go."
CalBears.com: Fans want to know if you have plans of not playing with the knee brace?
Hampton: "I just have to keep rehabbing and get more confidence in myself. If I play without it, I think I'm going to get hurt. I'm going to try this summer to play without it."
CalBears.com: What else are you interested in besides basketball?
Hampton: "Shopping for clothes. I just came from shopping yesterday."
CalBears.com: What did you get?
Hampton: "(Laughs). A whole bunch of clothes."
CalBears.com: What were your favorite Christmas presents?
Hampton: "Lexi bought me some shoes, a jacket and some pants. My favorite colors are pink and purple. My mom got me some cute pink and purple pajamas."