October 19, 2011

Standing Tall

By: Gabe Taylor '12

Standing at 6'9, sophomore John McArthur (JM) is a force to be reckoned with. Over the course of his high school career at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., McArthur led his team to a stunning 111-12 record. As a senior, McArthur posted a new school record with 40 points against Oakland High in the Northern California Regional Quarterfinals. In his first year at Santa Clara, McArthur saw 8.3mpg coming off the bench for big men Marc Trasolini, Ben Dowdell and Troy Payne. McArthur caught up with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) to discuss his upbringing, his most memorable basketball moments and how he sees his role developing this year.

SCB: When did you first know that you were going to be upwards of 6' 9?

JM: I was always really tall as a child and knew I was going to be tall, but not 6'9. I was six feet in sixth grade, which was interesting because I was taller than a majority of my teachers.

SCB: Did height have anything to do with your decision to play basketball?

JM: Height did play a role in me getting into basketball, but I loved the sport and the love of the game kept me wanting more of it and really made me stick with it.

SCB: Since your dad played football at Saint Mary's, did he try and guide you to play football?

JM: No actually, it was the exact opposite. He didn't want me to play football because he was so beat up from it. I was also so big to play when I was little because I exceeded the weight requirement. And when I got to high school, I was unable to play because I put all my effort into basketball.

SCB: Considering Santa Clara graduated big men, such as Ben Dowdell and Troy Payne (2011 WCC Defensive Player of the Year), do you think you can make an impact, especially on the defensive end?

JM: Losing those guys was tough, but they left a lot with me and I gained a lot from them the year I played with them. I will try to incorporate what they taught me and what I learned from them to the best of my ability this year and try to make a positive impact to help my team win.

SCB: How has your role changed now that Marc Trasolini is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL?

JM: Marc being out is a huge blow to out entire team and our style of play will be different. Losing a player of Marc's caliber is hard to replace overnight, so I am just going to go out there and defend, rebound and do anything I can to help my team be successful.

SCB: Considering your dad played football at St. Mary's, did he try to sway you towards his alma-mater?

JM: No he didn't. He let me decide where I wanted to go which I appreciate. He wanted me to make the decision and do what I wanted, not what he wanted. I think it worked out better that way.

SCB: What has been the most memorable moment of your basketball career thus far?

JM: It is hard to name one memorable moment thus far in my basketball career but this far the top three I would say is when my team got a come from behind win and I broke a school record of 40 points my senior year to advance in the playoffs, the win over Gonzaga at home last year, and winning the CIT my frosh year was an outstanding moment in my career. I was very privileged to experience that my first year at Santa Clara.

SCB: What have you been working on in the offseason to prepare for this coming season?

JM: In the offseason I have been working a lot of rebounding and passing. I'm also working on my offensive game and looking to score in the post as well as the perimeter. I worked on a lot of mid-range shooting so I am able to knock down open shots when most of the defensive pressure is focused on Kevin Foster. I have also been working a lot on my passing so I can make that extra pass to get the ball to our shooter when they're open.

SCB: Do you have any specific ways of preparing and getting yourself focused for game time?

JM: No not really. I tend to eat the same thing before every game and just focus through the whole day on what I need to do to help my team win.