Welcome to the High Score Esports College Players Interview Series!
Each week, we’ll be talking with, as the name may have tipped you off to, collegiate esports players. We’re starting off with the players of Aquinas College, and want to send a special thanks to Aquinas Esports Head Coach Adam Antor for giving us access to the teams.
Now let’s introduce you to J.R. “Bleu J” McCutcheon, the Jungler for the Aquinas League of Legends team…
What first got you into games?
I first started playing video games with my older brother Austin when I was around 7 years old. It was just a flight simulator / WW1 plane mission on an ancient computer. Austin would fly the plane and I would control the gunner position. My family moved around a decent amount when I was still young and video games helped me make friends as well as keep in touch with people I could no longer visit regularly. For me, it is no different than going to an amusement park, or getting together for a board game night; being able to bring all of my friends together without having to travel hundreds of miles for each of them is an experience that I will always be grateful for.
What drew you to League of Legends?
I didn’t start playing League until Freshman year of high school, which was around Season 3. To be honest I really had no idea what the hell I was doing for like a month straight and quit League multiple times the first year. What brought me back was the competitive nature, strategy, and the fact that it was always changing. New patches, new champions, new items, everything was always evolving and I wanted to be a part of it.
I have always enjoyed learning in a competitive environment, I have played travel soccer since I was 7-years-old. I’ve played in national tournaments, against professional clubs, and at the collegiate level. For me, League is just as difficult and fun at the competitive level, requiring an intense amount of game knowledge and mental fortitude that can only be achieved when everyone playing is on the same page.
Which character do you play? What is it about them that you like?
Honestly, my favorite character is Thresh. Thresh is actually a support character but he is one of the most difficult champions to master in the entire game which, is why I love playing him so much. I never feel like I have a losing matchup when I play Thresh. There is always something I can do in my positioning, my ability management, or macro play that can turn any game into a win.
What do you see as your main goal as Jungler?
My main role in our team is to facilitate the pace of the game, communicate what objectives we are taking, and setting up our game plan. Basically, I make sure we are on the same page and call out what we want to do next. I do not tell everyone what to do when it comes down to micro or how to play out their lane, I trust each one of our players to hold out teamfights and make the right decisions at any given moment.
What do you see as your team’s main advantage?
I would say our biggest advantage is our versatility. I think we can always create a win condition through our composition and experience. In the short time we’ve been together I feel as if we have already grown in communication, game plan, and champ selection. Any one of our players could soak 5 bans and still come out on top with a new innovating pick. A large part of this is inspired by Coach Pope. We are incredibly blessed to be given an opportunity to work with someone of his caliber.
Your brother is on the team, too. Do you find your brotherly bond gives you an advantage over other teams, or are you like my brother and I and just argue all the time?
I definitely feel like we have an advantage in our games. We have played with and against each other ever since we started gaming. I don’t think anyone can match our bond when it comes to a duo. While we do have an occasional disagreement when it comes to the game plan, we are able to communicate effectively and create a new solution immediately. Sometimes we don’t even have to speak, we act in unison, knowing exactly what each us will do and playing around our styles perfectly. Other times we can hard int. But at least we’re doing it together.
And while we do have a strong synergy when it comes to playing League, it’s bigger than just games. I count him as one of my best friends, I trust him absolutely, and there’s no one else I would rather play on a team with. To be honest, it wasn’t always that way, my older brother and I used to tease Kealan as the younger sibling, but we’ve all grown up together. Not only as brothers but as people. I am incredibly proud of Kealan and who he is as a person and I only look forward to who he will become.
When you’re not practicing League or studying, what games do you play?
I am a big fan of a ton of different genres. The problem is finding time to play, and it seems to be a common theme as we progress through life. Right now I would say the Division 2, Borderlands 3, Destiny 2, For the King, Smash Bros, Sea of Thieves, and Rainbow Six Siege. I just love playing with others, and it helps me connect with my brothers and family as we transition to different parts of the world and our lives. Now if I have time to go through some single-player games some of my all-time favorites include Ni No Kuni II, God of War, Nier Automata, Bloodborne, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
Find out more about the Aquinas College Esports teams here!