Catching Up with Jonathan Tavernari | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

Catching Up with Jonathan Tavernari

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo) had a chance to speak with forward Jonathan Tavernari about playing for his native Brazil this summer and his goals for the 2009-10 season, his senior year. What is one thing you want to improve this offseason? How will playing for the Brazilian National Team help you achieve your goals?

JT: My main goal is to get better at everything. I'm young and I want to improve in every area. It's great to be able to practice at this high level during the offseason. This is your second summer with the Brazilian National Team. How is this summer different than last summer?

JT: I'm one of the more experienced guys this time. I'm a starter. I’m more involved in the offense and I’m still expected to play the role of a defensive stopper like last year. I'm more vocal this year, more of a leader. Therefore, I have more responsibility, more on my to do list, and expectations are higher for me. How does the international game differ from the college game?

JT: The physicality of international ball is amazing. We can use our hands more, and literally body check someone. It's great to play with more contact. Who is the best player you have played against in international competition? What was it like playing against him?

JT: Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) and Theo Papaloukas (Greece). I played against them last year at the World Olympic Qualifier in Athens. It was a neat experience, but you have to respect everyone the same. We’re all competitors. You can’t be star-struck when you are competing. Which country do you like to play in most and why?

JT: The U.S. I'm way too Americanized. My whole life is there. I love the American game and the way of life. I moved there young, and even before that, I dreamed of the American Dream. What does it mean to you to play for your country?

JT: It's the greatest honor an athlete can achieve in an athletic career. I get the chills every time I listen to the Brazilian National Anthem. You are a senior this upcoming year. What are your personal goals and what do you hope to achieve as a team?

JT: I want us to compete for a fourth-straight MWC title, have success in the MWC and NCAA tournament’s and be a consistent Top 25 team. Personally I want to help my team by dominating some aspect of every game, whether it’s rebounding, scoring, passing or defense. I want to help my team win.

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