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Where Are They Now?
Q&A with Carlos Brandon Florez
by Ali Jones, 7 December 2009

For freshman Carlos Brandon Florez, opportunity came knocking almost as soon as he donned the Saluki maroon and white in fall 2009. The number one player of the team graduated and the next in line was out with an injury.

Southern Illinois freshman Carlos Brandon Florez courtesy, Saluki Athletics
With little time to ease into the college routine, Florez was thrust to the top of the lineup of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

SIU Head Coach Dann Nelson said Florez was "under the radar as a recruit" because he didn't play many tournaments outside his home state of Texas. Nelson said that what he's seeing of Florez' game is just the surface of his capabilities and that the fall's high level of competition has shown him glimpses of Florez' true potential.

"Brandon's best attribute is that he wants to improve and is willing to do whatever it takes to get there," Nelson said. "If he can continue at this rate, he will be one of the top players in [the Missouri Valley Conference]."

Ali Jones caught up with Florez during the holiday break to talk tennis, school, and his new life away from his family.

 

Ali Jones (AJ): How much pressure and pride is there in playing line one as a freshman? How do you deal with both?

Carlos Brandon Florez (CBF): There is definitely pressure, but the pressure is more my own expectations than anything. I feel that playing at my top level I can hang with anyone, and I pressure myself to play at that level each time. So it is a different kind of pressure. Of course, there is the pressure of the people that just know your name, your sport, and what number you play, because they read the papers and all that. I just ignore the hype and keep trying to get better.

Pride is something that I have never lost; I am a very prideful man, well, college athlete. You cannot get better if you don't believe that you can, and that belief is centered on my confidence.

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