John Tate featured on Throwback Thursday
Courtesy of Arkansas State
JONESBORO, Ark. (6/27/13) – Arkansas State continues its “Throwback Thursday” segment on its athletics Web Site, AStateRedWolves.com, with former men’s basketball star John Tate as the second former student-athlete to be profiled. “Throwback Thursday” highlights former A-State student-athletes and their current endeavors. The segment provides readers with biographical information on the former student-athlete and features a question-and-answer session, including questions about their time at Arkansas State and their current career.
Tate is third in school history in points scored with 1,776, fifth in field goal percentage at .601, fourth in blocked shots with 105, and eighth in rebounds with 821. He was a two-time honorable-mention All-American and made three all-conference teams in his career. He averaged at least 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for three straight seasons. He owns the school records for games played (128) and games started (108). Additionally, Tate was the MVP of the Kentucky Invitational Tournament during his senior year and was an NIT Scholar-Athlete.
Q & A Session with John Tate
What do you remember most about when you first came to Arkansas State as a freshman?
Coming out of high school and going into college, I just didn’t know what was ahead of me athletically and academically. I made adjustments with practices and school. Once I started meeting people, especially my teammates, things started coming more naturally. I started forming close bonds with my teammates and they held together from our freshman year until we were seniors and even beyond that. We always had good relationships with each other.
What do you remember most from your freshman season?
The one thing that always stands out to me is when we went to the Iowa Hawkeye Classic. It was one of our first games, and here I am 18 years old in front of close to 15,000 people. The funny thing is that I actually don’t remember being nervous, but it was a big moment for me and our whole team. They were ranked around 15th in the country and we beat them.
What would you say are your best memories from Arkansas State overall?
The Arkansas game in the NIT was a big one. It was such a big deal to be playing them. We played our best basketball and had them down, but they came back to beat us in overtime. Still, playing on that level and being so far ahead of them on their home court was a big memory. Another big memory, even though it was a loss as well, was playing Memphis State in the first game at the Convocation Center. They beat us by one point, but the place was packed and it was such a great atmosphere. I remember playing Stanford in the NIT at their place and we had a great game plan and were able to execute it and beat them. I remember when we beat Memphis, and that was a great feeling. I remember beating LSU as well. There were just so many teams we beat and played close games with that we weren’t supposed to beat and our heart was what carried us through. I also remember when we played in The Fieldhouse. It was so close and tight and we had it packed and rocking all the time.
Were there any games that you just remember having that feeling like you couldn’t miss?
I remember playing in the Kentucky Invitational my senior year. We played Marshall first and we knew if we beat them, we’d get a shot at Kentucky so the whole team was pumped up about that. Everything I threw up there was going in and I felt like I could shoot with my eyes closed and make it. We won, but of course, Kentucky lost their first game so we didn’t get to play them and we played Bowling Green State and we beat them to win the tournament. The Arkansas game was the same way. I was so pumped up for that game and I felt like I played at a higher level for that game because I wanted to beat them bad. Honestly though, I felt good in all the games I played. I don’t know if I’d say as good as the two I mentioned, but I don’t remember ever feeling bad or like I couldn’t make shots.
How was it playing for Coach Nelson Catalina?
He was a good coach. The first thing I remember about him was when I got there and I got introduced to college basketball with the preseason conditioning program. We did so many things and I felt like I was there for the track team and not basketball, but that conditioning was so important and beneficial during the season. I felt like Coach Cat knew everything about basketball and he helped me develop my gift that I had. He was always there to get me to know I could be as good as I wanted to be. There were many times in practice when I thought I was doing a good job but Coach Cat would jump on me to keep me motivated so I wouldn’t be content. He got on all of us really and it made us all better, especially me.
Do you still keep in touch with Coach Cat and any of your teammates?
I keep in touch with Coach Cat to this day. We talk fairly often and we’re real good friends. I keep in good contact with Brad Goshien and I speak to Greg Williams from time-to-time. Lately, I’ve gotten in touch with Tim Norman, Carl Archer, Kyle James, and Rhon Johnson. We talk about normal things like family and what we’re doing now, but we always like to relive memories of basketball and what we did in our college days. We were all really close and hung out all the time. Jonesboro has grown so much since I was there, so there weren’t as many places to go out when we were all there.
How much do you keep up with the Red Wolves program now?
I try to come down for the Homecoming game in football every year and see old friends and visit with them. I haven’t been able to make it to any basketball games in a few years, but I plan on making it up there more often if I can so I can support the program more. I always keep up with the scores, so I do follow it rather closely. I think Coach Brady is a great coach and that he’s doing a real good job with them.
What did you do after your playing career at ASU?
Since I’ve left ASU, I went overseas and played professionally in Europe and Australia. I also played for a while in Argentina before I came back to the U.S. I went to work in Nebraska and that’s where I met my wife. We moved back to Arkansas and got married. We’ve been back in Pine Bluff for 14 years now and I have three kids. I’ve got two daughters and a son. Steahna is the oldest, Johniece is the middle child, and my son, John, is the youngest. I came back and finished my degree in education too. Now I’m a supervisor at Central Moloney in Pine Bluff. It’s a company that manufactures transformers.
How did your experience at Arkansas State help you in your career?
It helped prepare me for life after basketball without a doubt. When I went there, I didn’t even think about playing professionally. I just loved the game. I didn’t really think about pro basketball until my senior year. It was so important to get the education and get that degree. I also made some great friends while I was here and was able to meet some important people around the area while getting to know some of the businesses as well. People actually ask me if I regret coming to ASU. I say an emphatic “no way!” ASU would be the first choice of all the colleges recruiting me back then. It was a bit hard to hear about ASU or any of the other colleges in the state growing up, but once I visited and got up here I fell in love with ASU. My education, friends, professors, coaches, and teammates from ASU all helped prepare me to become the person I am today.