By Cardell Dudley
Coming into the season, Bowie State junior forward Julian Livingston was a relative unknown reserve to bulldog faithful. As the leading scorer last season for Goucher College (D-III), where he averaged 17.1 points per game on 45% shooting from the field and 41% shooting from 3-point range, he earned the opportunity to continue his at career at CIAA power Bowie State. Fast forward to now and Livingston went from a unknown to a key reserve to a counted on starter, which is a testament to his work ethic and his production when his number has been called. I caught up with Livingston as Bowie State prepares to begin its CIAA Tournament run to see how the transition from the D-III level to among the elite in D-II has been, the brotherhood within the Bowie State team and how much he has learned under CIAA Coach of the Year Darrell Brooks.
FM - How has the transition from the D-III level to the top of the D-II level been for you?
JL- The transition has been bumpy. I have had my ups and downs but I have learned a lot. I had to adjust my level of play from a physical and IQ standpoint. My coaches and teammates have been influential in my development this year. I struggled in the beginning but eventually I picked up my play.
FM - The work required not only to play at the D-II level but to win games was that something you expected coming in or was it a shock at first?
JL - The work load was something I expected only because of the summer I had before coming. The experience I had training and working out with players that play at higher levels definitely helped me. I was exposed to the amount of work that professional players put in so I expected it to be tough.
FM- The Bowie State team this season appear to be a close knit group and it shows with the success you all have had on the court. Talk about that?
JL - We really are like a family, a band of brothers. We fight and argue all the time but we always have each others back back. We understand that we all have the same goal, to win a ring. We push ourselves more than anything. We play against each other harder than any opponent ever could. So when the game gets tough we have great chemistry and focus because we've been there before.
FM - How has it been playing for the well respected Darrell Brooks?
JL - Playing for Coach Brooks has been exactly what I needed as a player to get better but I have also learned the characteristics that a team needs to have to be successful. He understands that mistakes are a part of the game but he doesn't accept it. He demands excellence from his players. He will be the first guy to snap on you when your playing horrible but also the first to praise you when you are playing good. He tells you exactly what he wants and expects from you but constantly pushes you to expand your game.
FM - As you approach the CIAA Tournament for the first time, what are you doing individually and as a team to prepare?
JL- Personally I focus on my role and what I'm good at, shooting. I try to get up as many shots as I can. I have to be versatile as well, knowing how to play the 3 and 4. I think about how I can affect the game from each position. As a team we focus on executing by running a lot of situations in practice. We study film and just try to cover all aspects of the game.
FM- At the beginning of the season a lot of Bowie State fans didn't know you, fast forward a couple of months and all you hear when you're on the floor from the crowd is "Julian Shoot it" " Man it looks good even when he misses it" how does that feel?
JL - It's feels great that people recognize that you can play and have talent. It feels especially great because I had many people saying I was going to come to Bowie and sit on the bench. I'm glad to be making the most of my opportunity.
FM- Finish this, Bowie State will win the CIAA and NCAA Championship if....................
JL - Have a defensive mentality, execute on offense, play as one, and the most important thing is to go 1-0 each day.