Gaucho Hoops ("GH"): Thanks Coach Wudel, for taking this interview. Let's talk about Jay's background. His father was a basketball coach. Did that help in his growth as a basketball player in high school?. Was he easier to coach in high school?
Mark Wudel ("MW"): Jay is a coach’s son. He has been around coaches all of his life. He sees things as a coach does and plays on the court like a coach would. His dad coached him in AAU and Jay was able to work out with his dad’s community college team during his youth. So, he has always been exposed to high quality basketball. He was very easy to coach in high school because he never had the attitude that he knew it all. He was always willing to learn and work hard.
GH: Did he play other sports?
MW: Jay didn’t play any other sports in high school.
GH: When did you know he would be special in basketball?
MW: You could see that Jay was going to be special in grade school. He saw things on the court that the other kids did not see at that age. But it wasn’t until high school when he started to grow 2 inches a year, that you knew he would be special and play in college at the Division 1 level.
GH: Can you give us some color on his high school playing days? How was he as an AAU player?
MW: Jay was always known as a shooter in high school and in AAU. It was his Sophomore thru his senior years that he really concentrated on his defense. He became more of a complete player.
GH: What was his recruitment process like? Why did he choose UCSB over other schools? Who else offered him?
MW: Jay was recruited by several schools, Santa Clara, University of San Francisco, Sacramento State, Harvard for example. As soon as he talked and visited UCSB, he had his choice pretty much made. He really liked the school and the coaches. It was also close to home so his parents could come watch him play.
GH: What position did he play in high school? What position is he best suited at the Div. 1 level?
MW: In high school, Jay played a little bit at the point guard position and the wing position. His best position in college will probably be at the wing, but if he keeps growing and putting on weight, he might be able to play at the stretch four position.
GH: Coach Pasternack said Jay has one of the purest shooting strokes he's coached. Was this something that came natural to him? Or was it just pure work ethic? What special traits give him such a shooter's touch?
MW: Jay has always been a good shooter, but he wasn’t satisfied with that. Our team did a lot of 6 a.m. shooting work outs in the summer where we would do shooting drills for an hour and a half each day. He put a lot of time in his shot. He has a quick release that enables him to get his shot off when someone is guarding him.
GH: What are his other strengths?
MW: Jay’s other strengths are that he is a good passer, sees the court well and is unselfish.
GH: What is he working on to improve his game?
MW: Jay has been working on his strength, conditioning and defense.
GH: Tell us one thing about Jay that most people don't know about him?
MW: Jay is a picky eater. He doesn’t like to try foods that he hasn’t had before.
GH: Anything else you want to add about Jay?
MW: Jay played on an AAU team that was mostly comprised of friends that lived in his neighborhood. They were a very unselfish team, mostly because they were all friends. Off that team, 2 other friends received scholarships that were on the same high school team. Carson Strong received a scholarship in football at University of Nevada, Reno and Michael Wudel received a scholarship in basketball at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Another player, Zach Perlstein, who lived near everyone but went to a different high school received a scholarship in basketball to Cal State East Bay. He has always played on close knit teams.
GH: Thanks Coach!