Q&A: Davonte Fitzgerald talks Eric Curry injury, his role on the team

Fitzgerald earned a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last season.

Owen Mageau

This week, the Minnesota Daily talked with Gophers basketball forward Davonte Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a redshirt senior who will play his first games for the Gophers this year after transferring from Texas A&M. He had to sit out last year with an injury and sat out the year before that due to NCAA transfer rules. 

What was your time at Texas A&M like?

I was there for two years. It was pretty good, especially being young, coming out of high school, and going to a big university. It was a good experience. I had a pretty good two years there, the injury set me back a little bit, but overall I had a pretty good experience down there.

What made you want to transfer to Minnesota from Texas A&M?

When I got the call to come up here, and then when I took the visit, I liked it and I liked what [head coach Richard Pitino] was doing. I loved being in the city and the campus. The difference between here and there [Texas A&M] is that it’s more focused on basketball here, which was attractive to me.

Due to transfer rules, you had to sit out. Did you learn anything from sitting out and watching from the sideline?

I learned a lot about what Coach wants on the offensive end, especially during film. And the defensive end, too, just breaking it down and seeing how I can come in and seeing where I can fit in within this system. That’s what I was focused on.

What are you most looking forward to about this year?

Having pretty much everyone back and adding on top of that. We have big goals this year and we should have everything we need to accomplish them.

What type of role do you see yourself playing?

The three [or] four. Backup [small forward] and backup [power forward].

Eric Curry recently went down for the year with a tragic knee injury, will you be taking a lot of the minutes that he had? 

Yeah, I’m going to have to play those minutes because [power forward Jordan Murphy] is probably the only true [power forward] on the team, so I’ll be playing right behind him in the four position. I have to step up.

What are your expectations for the season?

We want to win the Big Ten championship and get to the [NCAA] tournament. Then try to make as long a run as possible. That’s two goals as a team that we are looking forward to.

What do you think of the incoming freshman class?

I like them. [Jamir Harris] is probably the best shooter on the team and [Isaiah Washington] is a classic New York guard with crazy handles. He’s got the jelly thing going for him. He’s perfecting that daily. I think it’s going to be a big surprise, because they’re really good. After one year, everyone is going to know who they are. 

What types of things do you do in your free time?

I like going to the movies by myself a lot. I’m a big sneaker fan, so I buy and sell a lot of shoes. I got a little sneaker business going on. 

What’s your favorite thing about being at the U of M?

I’d probably say being on the basketball team. All the support we get here, the Barn, is crazy. I’d probably say the Barn is one of my favorite things, especially during conference time. It’s pretty unmatched. 

Is there anything you want to tell all the Gopher fans out there?

Yeah, I’m looking forward to a big year for all of us. For me, you can expect me to be pretty athletic. I like to shoot threes, get up and down, and make some electric plays. 

Are you ready for the season to start?

Yeah, I’m ready. I’m good to go.