Since senior Tyler McGrath came to UC San
Diego as a freshman, his basketball trajectory has clearly been on an upward
path. The rise of the Tritons' outside shooting specialist was punctuated last
Saturday night with a 33-point performance at the Dixie State Classic in St.
George, UT. His steady progress has not escaped UCSD Head Coach Chris Carlson.
"Tyler is a very proud and determined individual and I think those traits not
only push him but flow down to our team every day," said Carlson. "I am proud of
how far he has come as a player and he's a joy to coach." McGrath averaged 10.6
points and 4.1 rebounds per contest as a junior, knocking down 47 treys. The
Camarillo native recently took time to talk about his career, his teammates and
his hopes for the coming season.
Q-Thirty-three points-a career high-against
Fresno Pacific last Saturday.
Your previous career high had been 21. What
was happening out there that made an outburst like that possible?
McGRATH-We had a very disappointing loss the night
before where we were up big most of the game and let it slip away down the
stretch. I had a poor shooting night and I felt that my poor performance was
main reason for the let down.
Coach (Gerred) Link talked to me after the loss and really encouraged me
and gave me confidence going into the game against Fresno Pacific. I really
wanted to come out strong the next night and play well for my teammates and
Q-Is that something we can expect to see with
any regularity this season?
McGRATH-I expect to play well this season. I,
personally, as well as the team have put the time in to be successful this
season. We have a number of very talented offensive players that can really
shoot the ball so it can really be any number of guys that can step up and have
a big night when necessary.
Q-When things are going right like that, do
you know instinctively how many points you're scoring or is it more like you
look at the box score after the game and go "wow, where did those 33 points
McGRATH-Usually I never really know how many points I
have. I don't keep track in my head personally. Most arenas keep point totals
for individual players on the main scoreboard for everyone to see. But when it's
your night the basket gets huge and it seems like anything and everything you
throw up goes in. Honestly, I was more concerned about getting the win. It was
a big bounce back game for our team and I wanted to do everything I could to
make sure we got out of there with a victory.
Q-From a team perspective, how would you
evaluate your first two games?
What do you like most about this year's UC San
McGRATH-I've seen a lot of very positive things from
our first two games.
We still have yet to put
together a 40-minute effort but our coaching staff is working really hard in
practice to get us there. We have changed a lot of what we do offensively to
take advantage of our versatility. The thing I like most though is how hard the
team is playing and how motivated we have been this year to make the most of
Q-You're a player who shows a lot of
emotion on the court. How does that work for you? Has it ever worked against
you? Have you changed the way you've channeled it over the course of your
McGRATH-It's always been a part of my game and who I
am as a player. I'm usually smaller then the guy I'm guarding so I have to want
the ball even more then my opponent if I want to succeed. I just love the
competition and like to play hard for my school and teammates. If anything my
passion has increased over my time here and I hope I pass some of it on to the
younger guys. College basketball is a grind. The average fan doesn't know how
much work goes into the game before we even put the jerseys on. You have to
enjoy the process not just the results.
Q-After not playing much as a freshman,
you got 24 minutes a game as a sophomore reserve and then started all 27 games
last season. Is there a big difference between starting and coming off the
bench? What are the benefits of each?
McGRATH-I've always been ready to play. I made my
first 9 shots as a freshman coming into the game in mainly garbage time. Being ready
to play is more mental than it is physical. Staying involved in the game
mentally even if your chances of playing are low is still very important.
You never know when it could
be your turn and you want to be ready to show what you're capable of. I
personally don't put much emphasis on starting or not starting. Being ready to
play both physically and mentally is what matters.As long as you are working
hard and progressing as a player that's all you can control and the rest will
take care of itself.
Q-What part of your game has progressed the
most since you arrived at UCSD?
McGRATH-Without a doubt my defense has improved the
most. I've always had the ability to shoot and score the basketball but I
needed a lot of work on the other side of the ball. Luckily I've been blessed
with gifted coaches that have taught me the importance of defense and turned my
weakness into one of my strongest points as a player.
Q-During the summer, what do you typically do
to prepare for the next season? Was there a particular area you focused on this
past summer and where do you hope to see the most improvement this season?
McGRATH-During the summer I like to play as much as I
possibly can. Either in various men's leagues or rec gyms that have open run I
just love to play and work on my game in competitive environments. This past
summer I really focused on my ball handling because I wanted to be more
comfortable with the ball and making plays inside the three-point line.
Q-What do you consider the greatest strength
of Head Coach Chris Carlson?
McGRATH-Coach is a really positive person and he
extends his personality into his coaching. He really cares for his players on
and off the court and is a coach that players really want to work hard for.
Once again, the college basketball season is a marathon not a sprint and coach
has a unique ability to keep things fresh throughout the season.
Q-You led UCSD in three-pointers made last
season. What makes a great outside shooter?
McGRATH-For me, it was my dad. My dad has a real eye for shooting and has coached
me my entire life. Anybody can have a hot night but being able to consistently
make shots goes back to the work you do in your preparation. Practicing the
right way builds confidence and confidence is what separates the good shooters
from the great ones.
Q-When you're in a shooting slump, what do you
do to try to pull yourself out of it?
McGRATH-I try to get to the free throw line. Once I'm
at the line I can take my time to fall back on my routine and my mechanics.
Seeing the ball go through the net twice builds your confidence back up.
Q-Which one of your teammates has the single
skill you most wish you had?
McGRATH-I want the James McCann spin move. He creates
so much space with his spin dribble that it opens up so many options for our
his game. He can stop and shoot, survey the floor and hit the open man, or get
all the way to the rim. I've never seen anyone at any level use the spin
dribble as effectively as he does.
Q-You went to high school at Oaks Christian,
the same school as recently graduated All-American Chelsea Carlisle of the
Triton Women's Basketball team. Ever go one-one-one with her? If so, what was
the result? If not, what would the strategy be?
McGRATH-Yeah, Chelsea and I go way back. She is an
amazing player and leader who everyone looks up to. I'm really excited that she
decided to stay and coach at UC San Diego. She has a great basketball mind. I've
stayed far away from any one-on-one games because I don't think I would like
Q-You've said that the Los Angeles Lakers are
your team in the NBA. What's going on there? Are you happy with the hiring of Coach
McGRATH-I think my Lakers are doing just fine. It
takes time to develop chemistry and for players to figure out their roles. I
was expecting this season to be a wash for the Lakers anyway so any success
they have would be great. I like the D'Antoni hire and I think that if the
players buy into his system they will be back on top again.
Q-Breakfast burritos are apparently the meal
of choice. How long before a game would you have to eat one? What are some of
your "go to" spots in San Diego?
McGRATH-I wouldn't go near a breakfast burrito before
a game not a chance.
It would be tempting though.
Living in San Diego has grown my love for burritos into a full out obsession.
The best burrito has to be from Los Primos off Regents and Nobel.
Q-What's one thing that people would be
surprised to learn about you?
hate tomatoes more than anything in this world. Disgusting.
Q-You're in line to get a political science
degree from UCSD. What kind of career plans do you have?
McGRATH-I want to take some time off after I graduate
to find out what is important to me and what I really enjoy doing. I want to
enjoy my job and I don't want to rush into anything because it was the best
option at the time. So ask me that question in another year or so and hopefully I'll have a better answer.
Q-UCSD was picked by conference coaches to finish
11th in 2012-13. How accurate do you think that prediction will turn out? Why?
McGRATH-I think we are really going to surprise the
league this year. We lost so many close games last year which really motivated
our group this entire off season. I'm excited for the success we are going to
have this year.
Q-Before you graduate, what's one thing you
would like to accomplish on the basketball court? One thing you would like to
accomplish off the basketball court?
I want to have a 10-rebound game this season. I've been close a couple
of times but I really want to make my rebounding a point of emphasis this year
to help out our big guys down low. Off the court I really want to enjoy my last
year of college and the friendships I've made and make the most of the time I
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Jessica Wi (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2012
Elena Inouye (Women's Cross Country) October 1, 2012
Josh Stiling (Men's Water Polo) September 15, 2012
Alec Arsht (Men's Soccer) August 28, 2012
Amber Hawthorne (Women's Volleyball) August 13, 2012
Kristin Jones (Women's Soccer Assistant Coach) June 24, 2012
Nick Howe (Men's Track & Field) May 13, 2012
Kris Lesovsky (Softball) March 16, 2012
Danny Susdorf (Baseball) March 6, 2012
Sarah Lizotte (Women's Water Polo) February 9, 2012
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball) January 31, 2012
Alex Henley (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 17, 2012
James McCann (Men's Basketball) December 29, 2011
Emily Osga (Women's Basketball) December 19, 2011
John Butler (Men's Water Polo) November 28, 2011
Lauren Demos (Women's Volleyball) November 8, 2011
Cory Wolfrom (Men's Soccer) October 26, 2011
Ellen Wilson (Women's Soccer) October 1, 2011
Brian Donohoe (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2011
Roxanne Brunsting (Women's Volleyball) August 19, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Vincent Nguyen (Tennis) July 1, 2011
Patti Gerckens (Softball) May 26, 2011
Blake Tagmyer (Baseball) May 11, 2011
Theresa Richards (Women's Track & Field) April 27, 2011
Austin West (Men's Tennis) April 17, 2011
Drew Lawyer (Men's Crew) April 11, 2011
Keith Okasaki (Men's Golf) March 26, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Hanalei Crowell (Women's Water Polo) March 5, 2011
Camille Gaito (Softball) February 23, 2011
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
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Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Christine Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
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Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
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Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009