5 Questions with Tanner Smith

CLEMSON - CUTigers checks in with freshman standout Tanner Smith.

CUTigers sat down with freshman guard Tanner Smith after Saturday's 78-68 loss to now what is the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, Wake Forest:

Saturday's game against Wake was the most challenging game you've had to play in so far this season, and your first loss. What happens now?
Smith: I think we just really have to learn to play all 40 minutes. We were kind of lackadaisical the first half, and in the second half we finally made that run, but then we didn't finish it. We just really have to learn to play all 40 minutes and finish games if we want to come out with the win.

You guys did finally get a run in the second half, but Wake never made it easy to close the gap. What would you say your impression was of Wake's defense coming in and now afterwards?
Smith: Well we knew how they would be defensively just because of how athletic and big and strong they are. They didn't disappoint—they were definitely real strong. They're a defensive team, and that created problems for us around the basket—we couldn't finish a lot of lay-ups just because of how tall and athletic we knew they were. They were just a solid defensive team, and we didn't attack very well.

Most people don't know that Al-Farouq Aminu is a former teammate of yours from your AAU league in high school. What was it like to play against an old friend and teammate at the college level?
Smith: Wow, well it was fun. I hadn't seen him in awhile and he played really well so I was happy for him. He's definitely playing a big part in that team's success, so its good to see him making his mark.

You had a strong assist to start of the second half and some nice steals and rebounds throughout the game that made you stand out defensively; how would you evaluate your performance overall?
Smith: I thought I played alright. I played well on the defensive end. I got some steals and I was able to get out there and get some assists, but I didn't finish on the basket at all. I missed a couple of lay-ups and a couple of jump shots so really I was hoping to show up more offensively.

You've got North Carolina on Wednesday ... what do you think you guys will be working on in preparation for that challenge?
Smith: Finishing. We'll be working on playing all 40 minutes and kind of imposing our will. We just need to get out there and attack them.

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