Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has hit the camp circuit this summer and twice competed against some of the best college players in the country.
“You are playing with some of the best players in college basketball,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “It is something new and that I am not used to. I play teams that have good players and pieces to the puzzle that fit within, but playing against a lot of great guys is different.”
Hollis-Jefferson is already one of the better players in the country, but he still learned plenty from his experience at the Kevin Durant and LeBron James Skills Academies.
“I have learned to be myself,” he said. “Don’t try to step outside the boundaries. You may get carried away sometimes and try to do a little bit you are not used to doing or great at, but you have to stay true to who you are.”
“As far as me coming in with a new role, my expectations have changed a lot,” he said. “I feel I am a player coach is going to look to in order to be a leader and to help my team compete for a national championship.
“Being a leader is not just about talking about it, you have to show on the court with your effort level and you have to be willing to talk and be vocal.”
Arizona is going to be considered one of the favorites to win the national title and that certainly does not bother Hollis-Jefferson.
“I expect nothing less because I believe in the team and coaching staff that we have,” he said. “We all are great guys and we work so hard I believe we all deserve to win and I expect nothing less.”
In addition, the Wildcats will have some added motivation due to how last season ended.“It took me quite a while to get over it,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “It is rough losing. As Lebron told us one night, there’s no difference between loving to win and hating to lose, they should both be equal. I really hate to lose and it was tough. It took me a couple months.
“That’s motivation. We talk about not letting it happen again. We don’t want to ever be put in that situation again. The expectations are high, so we have to compete and play like that on the court and off the court in practice.”
Not only is Hollis-Jefferson hoping he can bring more versatility to the lineup, but he is hoping he will bring an improved game as well.
“Versatility is pretty big in the game of basketball,” he said. “You have stretch fours, some fives that can shoot the three, that is pretty big now. Being able to guard and play multiple positions, those are the type of guys that coach loves.
“I shoot a lot. I dribble a lot more just to tighten up my handle to be able to get off my shot. I have been working on my dribbling and my shot.”