Behind the ‘Jackets’ high-flying start is freshman point guard John DiBartolomeo. The Westport, Conn. native took home the Tournament MVP at last weekend’s Holiday Inn Airport Thanksgiving Invitational at the Palestra.

DiBartolomeo has displayed a well-rounded game this season in the championship game he had 11 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals.

How did you get started playing basketball?

I’ve been playing basketball ever since I was very little. I started when I was 2, on little hoops.

How do you mentally get ready for a game?

I try to think about the game a lot, but not overthink. If I overthink then I will not play as well as I can.

Do you have any pre-game routines? Do you listen to a particular artist?

I can’t listen to music before a game. Everyone listens to their iPod before the game but I can’t. I’ve never been a fan of that.

I pretty much do the same thing before every game. I eat a certain amount of time before every game and if one thing goes wrong I don’t like it.

I think that’s the same with a lot of athletes, they’re very superstitious.

You had a few blocks in the tournament and you’re about 5’10”. Can you dunk?

I’ve never dunked, no.

Not even just by yourself?

I don’t try a lot, but I can’t.

What was the biggest adjustment you had to make from high school basketball to college basketball?

The speed of the game was definitely a lot faster. The team here stressed different things than my high school team.

Here they are very big on defense and kind of playing within the system. In high school, I kind of had a lot of freedom and this is much more constructed.

Definitely the speed of the game, I found myself getting tired a lot but I’m getting into shape now.

You’re a pretty good shooter.What kind of practice routine do you have, like taking 500 shots per day?

Well, I shoot a lot by myself. I did shooting drills sometimes, usually with somebody so they can rebound for me and I can rebound for them.

I like shooting a lot by myself, kind of like in-game shooting, imagining that you are actually playing.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in a basketball game?

Probably last game when [freshman Milan Moncrief] shot it off the shot clock.

What kind of goals do you have for the team and individually this season?

Definitely to get to the tournament and play through our spring break and win as many games as we can.

For personal accomplishments, whatever happens happens.

Willis is a member of the class of 2011.

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