After a long hiatus, HuskerOnline.com is pleased to announce the return of our Postin' Up series, which gets to know Nebraska's basketball team both on and off the court. For our season debut, we sat down with junior power forward Leslee Smith, who is coming off his first start as a Husker last week at Ohio State.
Smith is a native of the British Virgin Islands who spent two seasons at SMU before transferring to Seward County (Kan.) Community College last season. The 6-foot-8, 255-pounder has been arguably NU's best low-post player this year, averaging 7.9 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game.
HOL: Congratulations on your first start the other day. Obviously the game didn't go quite as planned, but I imagine it was a pretty special moment for you?
LS: "I wouldn't say it was special. I'm kind of used to it. Coming from juco, I started a lot of games, so I just looked at it as an opportunity to come out here and just show everybody that I can start and I'm able to start. I just wanted to come out and play really good and help lead the team to a victory, but unfortunately we didn't."
HOL: I know when you were being recruited by Nebraska you told me the opportunity to play in the Big Ten Conference was one of the bigger selling points for you. Has the league been what you expected?
LS: "Yes. It's been everything that I expected about the Big Ten and even more. These guys are really good and these teams are really good, and you've got to come out and be ready every night."
HOL: I can't imagine it snows much down in the Virgin Islands. How much snow had you seen before coming to Nebraska?
LS: "I've seen a lot of snow. I was in Kansas just last year, and when I was in Dallas it snowed a couple of times. I've actually been to Alaska twice, so I've seen a lot of snow. So it's not really new to me. But living in it, that's new to me. I'm kind of getting used to that, but I can take it."
HOL: I'm sure you can, but the Caribbean sounds pretty good right about now. For any Husker fan thinking about visiting the Virgin Islands, what are some things they must do down there?
LS: "You must go to the beaches. That's a must. Try to get the seafood. We've got lobster fresh out of the water, conk shells, whelks - there's a lot of things people might never have heard that they should try. It's really good. Really good."
HOL: I've heard there's some good surfing down there as well. Besides you, of course, which of your teammates would you think is the best surfer?
LS: "Maybe Tai (Webster), because he's lived on an island similar to mine. So I think he might be the best surfer because he's lived in that type of area."
I was hoping you were going to say Sergej Vucetic.
LS: "(Laughs) No, definitely not Sergej."
HOL: Do you play a lot of video games?
LS: "All the time. I just got an Xbox One the other day. My game is Battlefield 4."
HOL: Does the team ever play against each other?
LS: "We play a lot of (NBA) 2K14 here in the locker room. These guys go at it all the time. I don't really engage in the 2K14 because I'm not as good yet, but as soon as I get better, I'll engage in some play. When I do play, it really doesn't matter what team I play with, but I really like the (Oklahoma City) Thunder and the (Portland) Blazers."
HOL: What's your favorite song to listen to before a game?
LS: "Oh man, I have a few. I usually listen to some Meek Mill. There's this one song called 'Hip Hop', and 'Traumatized'. It's pretty crazy stuff, but those are some of the songs I listen to. No R&B. No smooth songs. More up-tempo stuff to try and get me going."
HOL: You've been playing for Coach Miles for a few months now. What's one thing he does that cracks you up the most?
LS: "I would say every time we're in practice, he's always shooting free throws and shooting jumpers, and he doesn't make a lot of them. We really make fun of him on that. I think that's the most fun thing at practice, just watching him try to make shots. It's pretty funny."
HOL: Basketball has taken you to a lot of different places over the years. Do you like living in Lincoln?
LS: "It's a lot better and a lot faster (than Kansas), because where I was in Kansas, it was a small town and they didn't really have a lot going on. This is more city-like, kind of, so I mean, I'm adjusting to it. I like this, because it's not as fast as a big city but it's just perfect for anybody who's trying to have a good time now and then. I really like living in Lincoln."