One on one with Amile Jefferson

Sophomore forward sits down with TDD to discuss the upcoming season.

Coach K singled you out as one of the guys who really progressed this offseason, and as one of the guys who really blends well with Jabari and Rodney. What are your reactions to that?

Amile Jefferson: It definitely feels great. Knowing that we are playing a new style this year, I feel like I'm athletic and will be able to fit in with these guys really well. As a team, we have a lot of talented guys who are able to play multiple positions on the court. I think it will be a real fun way to play and I'm looking forward to it.

You had a chance to work with the coaches in off-season workouts this year-what kind of things did they focus on?

In workouts we've really done a lot of running and we've worked on pressuring the ball, that's going to be key for us this year is making teams play faster. I've been working on a lot of transition stuff, moving without the ball, not necessarily a lot of screens-but a lot of movement.

Coach K talked about each guy taking responsibility for their own game at length. How did you apply that message this summer?

Well, this year I'm playing a new role unlike last year where I was called in to step in for somebody who got in foul trouble where this year I have the potential to play a real key role for my team. To be that man in the middle for us this year, and maybe not having a true, traditional position, but to be the guy who rebounds, who gets on the glass offensively, who gets guys in foul trouble. Defend really well, being called on to do what it takes.

What was your general impression of practice so far?

I thought it went really well. A lot of guys got their feet set, set the stage for the season ahead, and we took a good first step towards the new season. We looked good in going up and down the court, but it's a hard way to play against because it's a hard style to play and we know that it is going to take some work, but we have the next two weeks to keep working on it, because the thing is, not too many teams can play this way. We have to keep working, keep moving, keep going to different areas on the court because we will play different kind of positions.

What were the big teaching points from Coach K during the practice?

One is being able to run and being in great shape, and showing no signs of weakness. That means no hands on the knees, because the way we are going to play is going to be here and here, one cut, you have to be ready nothing physically and mentally to play this way, which was a big thing Coach emphasized today.

How do you see you guys blending off of Rodney and Jabari?

Yeah, definitely, those two guys are going to draw a lot of attention just by the attributes and skills they have. Being able to play off them, and knowing when to screen, knowing when to cut off them and slip to the basket is key. Also knowing that when Jabari drives, he's going to catch a lot of attention, so maybe curling under the basket or something like that.

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