Quick Hits with James Mays

CLEMSON - CUTigers.com spoke with senior forward James Mays before the team left for Tampa to play in the NCAA Tournament.

How seriously did you consider leaving your name in the NBA draft last summer when you were at the pre-draft camp?
Mays: Well basically that was the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase your talent with some of the best athletes in the country. But I didn't feel like that was my time to go. I wanted to continue to do great things at Clemson. I made the right decision to come back and I'm not looking back. It was the best decision for me.

How gratifying is it for you to be a part of the building process here at Clemson? This group of a seniors is a big reason why this program went from last place to one of the top programs in the league after all.
Mays: It's very gratifying. Especially when you think back to when I was, and where we were as freshmen. This program has grown by leaps and bounds. There have been some ups and downs in the ACC. We finished as the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament. You know we lost a tough one in the ACC Championship game but that's proof of how far we've come because were there playing for it.

Can you talk about Villanova and what you've seen of them on film so far?
Mays: Well definitely they're ranking doesn't really showcase what they are capable of. They aren't a 12-seed. They play like they are a fifth-seed, like us. They are a great team with a lot of athleticism. They have a great guard in Scottie Reynolds. And they have a couple of big, athletic post players. We know they are a good team.

Given their guard play, do you feel like your full court pressure can be effective?
Mays: Definitely. I played in the ACC against some of the best guards in the nation. He's a great athlete but I don't think they've seen the kind of pressure we have. Their guard play is good, no doubt.

Against a team like this, Coach Purnell said defending the three is a priority. What are your thoughts on that?
Mays: Definitely. If you let them get hot then it's definitely going to be a problem for us. Scottie Reynolds takes big shots and can finish so we definitely have to keep up our defensive intensity.

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