Conversation: Jessica Curtis
Sophomore Jessica Curtis has been a valuable asset to the Longhorns volleyball squad in her first two seasons on The Forty Acres. The southpaw opposite hitter provides Coach Jerritt Elliott with great depth at the hitter position and at 6-3 she is a nice change on the right side. Curtis recently sat down with TexasSports.com to discuss the upcoming NCAA Tournament, family, holiday plans, and her ideal dinner for four.
The team is heading into the playoffs and has earned the right to host the first two rounds. Talk a little about the turnaround the team has made this year after having a rough season last year, and your feelings heading into the postseason.
JC: Going in to the postseason we have a lot more confidence than we did last year. Last year we had a lot of injuries and we had some unfortunate accidents occur within the team family. This year we have a lot better team chemistry and we are more unified and we are now pretty much on the same page. We all know what we want and we all know where we are going. This season has been great and the competition from here on out is going to excellent. We cant wait to get started.
You came to Texas last year all the way from Marietta, Georgia. Where is Marietta and how did you end up at Texas?
JC: Marietta is a suburb of Atlanta and it keeps growing every year. Honestly, Georgia doesnt know volleyball very well and that is one of the reasons why I came to Texas. I knew that here I would have more opportunities to learn about the sport. But Georgia is still home. When I came to Texas I knew I wanted to be close to family, but I knew I didnt want to stay in Georgia and that I did not want to go all the way to the West Coast either. Texas was a really good fit for me. My moms side of the family lives in Dallas so they are not that far away. Coming here has worked out really well for me.
Now you have some pretty famous cousins in NBA players Jarron and Jason Collins. Is your whole family athletic? Talk about the role athletics played in your life and your familys as well when you were growing up.
JC: My family is pretty athletic. My mom played volleyball in high school, my dad played basketball in college, my cousin played college basketball. Then there are Jason and Jarron, of course. It just really runs in the family. Everyone thought that I was going to play basketball because of the height factor. I told my mom that I didnt want to play basketball anymore, and I dont think that she is quite over that. Since I have come to Texas she has calmed down and is cool with volleyball now.
This years team is a very close group. Talk about the relationships you share with your teammates both on and off the court.
JC: On the court, everyone has the utmost respect for one another and off the court we have so much fun together. We go out on the weekends, to eat and to movies and we just hang out. Were the type of people that do not hesitate to address issues with one another. Everything works out well between all of us. We are still learning to trust each other because we are a fairly new group, but other than that we have great chemistry and there arent any conflicts on the team.
If you could play any other sport at the University of Texas, what would you play? Why? What position?
JC: I would probably play tennis or run track. Tennis is pretty similar to volleyball and it would not be that hard to pick up. The same mechanics are used. Then in track I might be a sprinter because I consider myself pretty fast. Then again I am not very big on running a lot, so volleyball is still number one.
Once the season is over what are your plans for the holidays?
JC: I plan on going home and spending time with my family. I will also go to Dallas and see my grandparents and to Washington D.C. to see my dad. Then go home and visit my mom, and after visiting everybody I will come back here for the off-season.
Are there any Curtis family traditions?
JC: My mom and I always go see the Holiday of Lights Festival. It is a drive through lights display back home where everything is covered in lights. We do that every year, and of course I love the shopping.
What do you want for Christmas?
JC: I want a National Championship for Christmas. That would make my Christmas. Oh yeah, I also want an I-Pod.
A couple of weeks ago in Leticia Armstongs conversation she said to talk to you and Brandy (Magee) about some cartoon theme songs. So tell me about you vast knowledge of these songs.
JC: I am an only child, so I watched a lot of TV growing up. Saturday mornings I would sit and watch all the cartoons, and I just learned all of the theme songs. Any cartoon that came on I knew the song. One day the girls and I were sitting around and we started singing goofy songs and then we started singing cartoon songs. We ended up knowing every cartoons theme song. It was just something fun to keep us entertained on the road.
Fact Attack: Jessica Curtis
Favorite Place in Austin? The UT campus
Volleyball: In the sand / On the court: On the court right now, but in the sand later.
If youre not on the court you're ... Studying, on the computer, watching T.V. or hanging out with friends. (The first player all season whose answer was not sleeping)
Which reality show would you be on? I would love to be on the Real World or Road Rules. I would probably like Road Rules more because I enjoy challenges.
You would rather be ... I don't know because when we don't have practice I have trouble figuring out what to do with my day. Maybe I would go shopping.
Dinner for four. Who is there, dead or alive? My favorite comedian, Steve Harvey, Mariah Carey, and Usher, to have a good piece of eye candy.
What did you eat for dinner last night? I had chicken strips with rice, green beans, corn, carrots, rolls, and water at the athletic dining hall
What is in your CD player right now? Britney Spears. Because I needed some pump up music and I didn't have my CD's with me. I don't listen to her a lot, but I do like her last album.
Neat / Messy: That is a trick question because if you come into my room right now it is clean because we just cleaned it. Brandy (Magee) is my roommate and she is a messy person and we kind of influence each other. She influences me more with her messiness and makes me messy, too. If I were living with a neat person I would be neat too, but I am living with a messy person.
When you think of The University of Texas, you think? Winning tradition, pride and national championships