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January 28, 2011

Postin' Up with Andre Almeida

We're back again with another edition of Postin' Up, as this week we sat down with junior center Andre Almeida. After making an immediate impact in his first season at Nebraska, Almeida has settled in with the Huskers and living The Good Life.

The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native talks about his first "real" winter, playing for head coach Doc Sadler and how he's been able to still get his soccer fix as a basketball player living in a football state.

HI: So when was the first time you ever saw snow?

AA: "That was about three months ago."

HI: That's what I figured. What was your initial reaction when you saw snow flakes falling from the sky for the first time?

AA: "I liked it at first, but after a couple of days it was not that fun. It's slippery and stuff. Brazil was pretty hot, and the last two years I went to junior college in Arizona (Arizona Western College), which was really hot. It didn't get anything colder than 60s in like January. The snow really wasn't all that bad. It's the cold and wind that are the worst."

HI: I saw that you used to be a soccer player growing up down in Brazil. How long did you play?

AA: "I played in elementary school like twice a week with my friends. I stopped playing soccer when I was like 10 when I started playing basketball. But when I'm home I still play some with my friends. It's just like Americans playing basketball, Brazilians play soccer. We always watch games and stuff."

HI: What did you do for your first World Cup in America this past summer?

AA: "I was in Arizona finishing out summer school, and I would wake up at like 7 in the morning to watch the games. It wasn't very exciting because soccer is not as big as it is in Brazil. I was by myself the whole summer. That's one thing I remember about last summer, I wasn't able to watch the games with my friends. In Brazil, it's such a big deal. If Brazil plays at 9 a.m. on a weekday, they'll cancel school and you go to work at noon instead of going at 8 just because Brazil is playing."

HI: Do any of the guys on the team ever watch soccer with you?

AA: "Not really. Me and (Jorge Brian) Diaz play (the soccer video game) FIFA sometimes. He's the only one, and (Brandon) Ubel."

HI: At 6-11, 310, you're one of the biggest players to come through Nebraska in a long, long time. Have you noticed any opponent's jaws drop when they see you walk out onto the court for the first time?

AA: "It's hard to tell, because I don't really pay attention to guys' reactions. I just focus on what I have to do. I would say yeah, especially the first few teams we played. But in the Big 12 it's kind of normal because everybody has a 6-10, 6-11 guy."

HI: It seems like all of Doc's players experience a bit of a shock when they go through one of his practices for the first time. What do you remember about your first real workout at Nebraska?

AA: "It was really hard. Especially for me, I was coming off an injury, and in the summer I didn't focus as much on workouts as rehab and stuff. It was pretty hard. When I first got to juco, I thought that was pretty hard. When I got here, I was like, 'Man, juco was nothing compared the this.' I mean, you get used to it. But those first couple weeks of getting used to it were pretty hard."

HI: Going back a bit, you said you like to play FIFA with some of the guys on the team. Are you a pretty big gamer?

AA: "Yes, but I haven't played much in a while because of school and workouts and games and stuff. But yes, I am a video game guy. Sometimes we stay after practice until 7 and play in the locker room. I have a Playstation 3, but they have an Xbox in the locker room. But even though I don't have an Xbox I still beat them."



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