Trae Berhow, a freshman guard on the men's basketball team, talks about his transition from living in a small town in Minnesota to studying in Malibu, as well as his goals for the season:
Q: You're from Minnesota. How has the transition been so far?
A: The weather has definitely been a huge change. Though the summer in Minnesota is pretty hot because of the humidity, it's still been so different. The biggest change for me has been the ocean because in Minnesota all we have is the lakes. It has been nice to get to go to the beach here because everyone is always tanning or chilling on the beach or surfing, which is one thing I definitely want to learn how to do while I'm here. In Minnesota, we go on the lake in boats or go knee boarding which is kind of like surfing but it's also a lot different because you're in the middle of the lake instead of on the beach.
Q: How have you been liking Pepperdine so far?
A: I really love it. Everything here is a lot closer in terms of stores and restaurants because my hometown was pretty small and the only place to get food near me was Subway. Also, I've really liked being on a college campus where I can get food or use the gym whenever I want so it's definitely a lot nicer and it's been great so far.
Q: As a freshman, how has the first month been, in terms of basketball?
A: It's a big change coming in from high school because the workload is a lot more. Before this semester we had summer sessions and so I knew what to expect in terms of the athletics, which definitely helped a lot. I would have to say the biggest change for me was lifting because, in my high school, lifting wasn't as mandatory, which is different from Pepperdine where lifting is really important and as an athlete here if you don't lift, you don't become stronger or a better player. So that was definitely a huge change for me in terms of sports here.
Q: How have you been coping with juggling sports and college academics so far?
A: Academics here have been a huge change for me because, obviously, Pepperdine is one of the higher academic colleges. For the student-athletes we have something called study table which is a mandatory study hall for eight hours in the week where we have to use that time to finish our homework. So that helps a lot because it makes sure we aren't behind on any of our assignments. We even have tutors for our classes, who are really great. I have a couple of tutors and I think even if you feel you're doing okay with your studies you should go to a tutor anyway just to get their perspective on things and that helps a lot.
Q: What do you think of the team so far?
A: I think the team is going to be really good this year. I think the one big thing is that we're going to have to stay healthy. We're going to have a young team based around Amadi (Udenyi), who's one of our main leaders and Kevin (Hempy), both of whom are seniors, and we also have Matt (Atewe), our graduate transfer. So we have some older people to base it around, who have some good experience and can teach some of the young guys, which is going to help a lot. Overall we're going to be a young team but I really think we're going to surprise some people after the year we had last year.
Q: How would you describe the coaching style?
A: At Pepperdine they really preach defense and even my saying is, "Defense wins games," so in that sense we're definitely going to be an up-tempo team. But obviously, we'll slow it down when we have to. There's a lot of competition in practices, which helps because it obviously makes everyone want to work harder and we get better because of it.
Q: What goals have you set for yourself this season?
A: Starting off one of my goals is to be one of the bigger threats on defense and to be guarding one of the best players on the opposing team. Our goals as a team would be to be one of the top three in our conference and hopefully beat Gonzaga because that would be big. I really think we can do it if we make a push in the tournament and play the way we should play.
Q: Are you excited for your first college game coming up next month?
A: I'm so excited. We're going over to play Oklahoma State so the crowd is going to be packed and I think it's going to be their first game too. It's a good team to play and if we can beat them, everyone's eyes are going to open right away so it's going to be a big game for us.
Q: In your bio, you'd said, "A ball can pay for anything if you work for it." Would you like to elaborate on that?
A: I think in basketball if you work hard then it can pay for the rest of your life. Going to the NBA or overseas can be your job and my main goal is to have a good life, doing something I love every day while making money off of it. The ball can do that for people and I think that's amazing.