Mike Hornbuckle Q&A
Senior guard Mike Hornbuckle (
Q: What has the transition period been like over the last several months, learning a new system with a new coaching staff and with so many new players?
A: “It’s been a lot easier than expected, I would say. The toughest thing is that the system and the defense has been so different, so I had to forget everything I was doing the past couple of years and get back to doing certain basketball fundamentals like coming off screens and playing zone defense. Overall, off the court, the transition has been smooth. The freshmen adapted really well and we got along really quick.”
Q: What are some of the differences between last year and this year and how it will help you?
A: “I’m definitely a fan of traditional basketball. Me personally, I like to shoot mid-range jumpers and shoot off screens and that’s what Coach Asbury wants us to do. We won’t full-court press a team all the time, we’ll be changing pace and trying to keep teams off-balance.”
Q: I heard someone make an observation from the exhibition games that you may have looked a lot more confident out there. Do you have a different mindset at all as a senior?
A: “I guess you could say so. I’m four or five years older than some of the guys on the team and I know that they need to look up to me as I lead by example. I definitely have more confidence, having been at Pepperdine for a few years now. Being a senior and being 23 years old helps too.”
Q: With such a young team the expectations are not particularly high for this season, but what would you like to see the team accomplish this year?
A: “I think that throughout the year we’ll take a lot of big strides. We may have some games where we’re stagnant here or there, but I can see the team making big strides as the season goes on. The plan is to be playing a lot better by the end of the season, and so we’ll see what happens in the WCC season and the conference tournament. But we’re still trying to win every game starting tomorrow. I’m excited to think about where the team will be in future years, but this is my last year playing and I want to win games now.”
Q: How do you feel about where the team is right now?
Q: What would you like to achieve in your senior season?
A: “I’m looking forward to these preseason games and learning how to play with everybody. But I’m really looking forward to conference and I just want to win games.”
Q: You probably didn’t know much about Tom Asbury and his previous success at Pepperdine, but now that you’ve been playing for him for a few months, what do you think of him and his staff and their ability to return Pepperdine to a high level?
A: “If someone is going to do it, it’s going to be Coach Asbury. He’s done it before here, he knows how to do it. I think it was a really good idea to bring in all these coaches who went to Pepperdine. We’re building it from the ground up and he knows how to do it. It’s exciting.”
Q: It’s not too often that people transfer up in divisions, but you did that when you went from the NAIA’s
A: “I wanted to play on the largest stage possible for me.
Q: You started here as a walk-on. How quickly did you earn a scholarship?
A: “It was kind of a thing where I wasn’t going to get a scholarship for my first year when I had to redshirt. But it ended up that Coach Walberg liked how I was playing and what I was doing, so I got one for my redshirt year as well.”
Q: How would you describe your Pepperdine experience?
A: “It’s been great. You never have any complaints living in
Q: What would you tell a Pepperdine basketball fan who is trying to decide to buy into the program this year?
Q: What’s been the basketball highlight of your career?
A: “I’ve had a few. One was when I was in high school and I got the John Wooden Award so I got to go out to a hotel in
Q: When will you graduate, and what will you be doing after Pepperdine?
A: “I graduate in May with a degree in intercultural communications. I don’t really want to think about it until after the season. We’ll see how everything goes. It’s probably going to be too hard for me to get away from the game so I may try to play overseas or get into coaching. It’s going to be too hard to leave the game.”