Anas Mahmoud moved into the UofL starting lineup before their 77-62 win over Indiana in Indianapolis on December 31. The 7-foot-0 junior center from Egypt is one of the top shot blockers in the nation and has become a weapon as a low post scorer. He speaks four languages: English, Arabic, French and German. Mahmoud has battled weight issues throughout his career, but the opposite of most of us – he’s trying to put weight on.
What do you weigh now?
What do they want you to weigh?
You scored a career-high 15 points last season at Georgia Tech. What did that game do for your confidence?
I think it was the first game that I actually got in the post and I experienced what it feels like when you actually do post moves and play a post game. It felt great and we came out with the win.
You seem to be more aggressive in the post, is that right?
I think that the heavier I get and the stronger I get helps me a lot as far as post moves. In high school, I was 170, 180 pounds and I didn’t play inside because I couldn’t. The stronger I get, the better offensively I have gotten on the inside.
How much does having David Padgett in practice, on the court, help you improve?
He can actually work with me, and this summer when I came back from Egypt and I lost a couple of pounds, he worked with me a lot on my game and teaching me how to understand and how we want to play as a team.
Were you worried when Coach Pitino said at the tipoff luncheon that if you didn’t get to a certain weight, he was going to take your phone away?
I was. I lost it for four days I think. It was tough, that’s why it’s never going to happen again.
Have you worked to become a good shot blocker or is most of it natural?
I did work on it when I was young. I had like a second delay. I was mostly late. I worked a lot to work on my timing. My length helped me a lot in being a good shot blocker and just being able to see the ball at all times and react quicker.
How do you feel like you affect the game?
I go out there and the first thing I’m thinking about is how to help my team. I don’t really care what I do offensively as long as I’m there on defense, blocking shots and closing out and doing every little thing that my team needs on defense. Giving 100 percent effort is one thing that Coach P. always talks to me about.
How long did you go home for this summer?
I went home for the whole month of May.
Is that something you have been able to do often?
No, that was the first time in the last two years. VT