Meet 2011 McDonald's All-America Nominee, SCU Freshman Vanessa Leo

Check out the video interview with Vanessa Leo

SANTA CLARA, Calif. –
SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Santa Clara University true freshman forward Vanessa Leo (VL) who talks about teaming up with her sister Lindsay, her high school success, what championship teams must have, some career goals and what she enjoys doing off the court.

SCB: You helped Archbishop Mitty High School win a pair of CIF-Central Coast Section (CCS) Division II titles and three-straight Western Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) championships. What are some of the things that championship teams must have? What did you learn during your prep career that you bring to your new team at SCU? 

VL:
I've definitely learned a lot from playing with such a dedicated team (at Mitty). What are some things that have brought myself, and the team victories? I'd say our competitiveness, heart, skill, and overall closeness as a group. I've learned that it takes those characteristics and the willingness to put everything out on the court to succeed.  From my past experiences of failure and success, I am ready to contribute my dedication and hard work when I take the floor for SCU.

SCB: While at Mitty, you played with, and against, a number of your current teammates here at SCU (your sister Lindsay Leo, Iman Scott, Nici Gilday, among others) ... talk about that and how that relates to your upcoming career here at Santa Clara.

VL: It was a great experience to play with, and against, those players because they are all very talented.  Playing against each other was a good, competitive time, but now to have the opportunity to be on the same team will be great.  All of our little rivalries are in the past.

SCB: Besides playing basketball, what are some things you really enjoy doing off the floor? What seems to take up most of your free time you have for fun?


VL: Off the floor I really enjoy spending time with my family and friends.  Every time I have free time it seems to be filled up with going to dinner, shopping, and seeing movies!  I'd say that I'm a movie addict because I see pretty much every movie that comes out in theaters. It's always a fun time and keeps me relaxed.

SCB: Your freshmen teammates mentioned that you all have a lot of fun together as team. Tell us about some of the individual personalities within this group or try and describe the personality of this SCU team as a whole?

VL: We definitely have a great time as a team. We've really become a close-knit family and enjoy spending time with each other.  Everyone on the team has a great personality and we all mesh well together.  We're always laughing about something, and I know they're always there for me.

SCB: Surrounded by many successful basketball players including your father, uncles and sister, Lindsay, who all played in collegiate basketball, how has your family influenced your athletic career thus far?

VL: I'd definitely say that my family has had a huge impact on my athletic career.  Since the 2nd grade, which was the beginning of my basketball career, my family has been there every step of the way.  With all of them being basketball players themselves, I've always had them to be my role models and coaches.  I'd say that it's been to my benefit and I'm thankful for their input and support.

SCB: Why have you chosen to focus on studying in the Leavey School of Business? What is your dream career after you graduate from Santa Clara?

VL: I've chosen to focus my studies in Business because I think that this career path will give me a great foundation for when I'm looking for a job out in the Silicon Valley. So many job opportunities are out there by getting a Business degree and I want to take advantage of that. I hope to take part in International Business and maybe even start my own business one day!

SCB: After losing two of of the team's top post players in Lena Gipson and Kathy Willinsky to graduation, talk about this year's group of post players and what fans can expect to see from this new group?

VL: This year after losing Lena and Kathy, there are definitely some new opportunities for our post players.  Fans can expect to see some great team chemistry and the continuation of Santa Clara having threats in the post.  We all contribute different strengths, and combining them will be a force to be reckoned with.