The first leg of interviews I was a able to get were all with underclassman. This next interview was a first for me, and that is because I got to talk with a senior. It was a really cool experience because we got to talk about his whole career, not just one season. This was with senior guard, Eyassu Worku, from UC Irvine.
Worku had himself an outstanding career. Eyassu averaged seven points his freshman year, 11 his sophomore year, seven his junior year and then 12 this past season. As a senior he also won three conference titles with the Anteaters.
Eyassu and I got to talking about his overall career, and what he liked about it. We also talked about him winning an Espy, and what is next for Eyassu. Lets get right to it.
Eyassu talks about his career
Q: You had a pretty good career at UC Irvine where you averaged 7.2 points as a freshman, 11.3 points as a sophomore, 7 points as a junior but I really want to talk about your senior year. You averaged 12.3 points 2.6 rebounds and 4 assists per game. As you look at your career at UC Irvine how would you describe it?
A: I thought my career was very successful when looking how much I contributed and how much we won as a team. We won 3 conference titles and I thought I was a key contributor every year. I was top 15 in points and top 5 in assist and thought I could move up in those rankings if COVID-19 didn’t hit. I had a great time at UCI and resulted in championships and that’s the most important thing for me coming to UCI.
His role on the Anteaters
Q: You averaged around 30 minutes per game your senior season. What type of role did you see yourself in as other than a leader being a senior?
A: I knew coming into this year that me having a big season for us was a key to be successful and my coach told me during the off-season that if to be a three point shooter than it would be on me and that I controlled how good I can be. That off-season and summer I was working very hard to improve my three point shot, and was getting up shots everyday before our weight room session at 6 am. That was the biggest jump for me and my confidence in my shot. I also knew that I had to be tone setter for our team and make our teammates better.
Eyassu talks about 2019-20 goals
Q: What was your overall goal going into the 2019-20 season? Personally and team wise?
A: We had high expectations coming into this year. Our goal was to dominate in the regular season and win the conference tournament and make a run in March madness. Personally, I wanted to be an all conference player and also I wanted to become top 5 in assists for the school. I was battling an injury from my junior year with my hamstring and so I wasn’t able to play fully healthy in the NCAA tournament last year. I wanted to come into this year and lead my team to the NCAA tournament and play fully healthy in it. It was very hard for me because it kept reoccurring but thanks for the training staff on our team and one of my good friends Dr. Vas I was able to play my senior year injury free.
UC Irvine team bond
Q: UC Irvine finished with a 21-11 overall record and finished 13-3 inside of the Big West. What was the team bond like to start the year? And how did it change as the year went on?
A: The team bond was very strong I thought. Everyone was friendly, but we did have a lot of freshman. They were talented but they didn’t really know our system and how we played. We had a shaky start in the non conference but as league started to come we all began to click and started to get on a roll. The freshman started to understand expectations and it was awesome seeing them understand what to do to help us win. The seniors on our team started to play really well in conference especially at the end of conference which lead us to multiple wins.
Eyassu and other seniors not being able to play in conference tournaments
Q: UC Irvine had the number one seed locked up in the Big West tournament and then COVID-19 happened. Knowing you were a senior and knowing that you would not be able to play one more time in the conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament, what were you feeling when hearing the news break that your season ended like that?
A: If was definitely hard for me personally. Coming back from an injury from last year, the only goal was to play in the NCAA tournament healthy and when hearing the news it was heartbreaking. I was very emotional because all that hard work in the off-season was to play in the tournament. I eventually had to make peace with it because it was bigger than basketball and a serious threat to our society. As a senior, we were looking for closure on our season but didn’t get it because of the virus.
Eyassu wins an Espy
Q: I heard you won the 2020 Honorary ESPY? How does that feel?
A: Yeah, I won a Senior Honorary award espy. It was unbelievable and a huge honor. I would never expect in my life that I would win an espy but it happened and it was such an awesome feeling to get recognition like that.
Q: What is next for you after graduating from UC Irvine?
A: I plan on playing professionally and I signed with an agent. I’m looking for teams right now and weighing options to see where I can go. My ultimate goal is to play in the NBA and I’m work my way into that goal.
This became a different kind of interview for me and that is what made it fun for me to do. Getting to recap a players whole career in multiple questions and Eyassu Worku really gave me some amazing answers.
I want to thank Eyassu for the opportunity to talk with him and want to thank him for the time he took to answer these questions. Wish him all of the best in the future with his goals of playing in the NBA.