Josh Hairston: Overall, it was a good experience. We learned a lot about ourselves as team. We had a couple of really tough games, and playing at Montverde…it was a pretty crazy environment. A hostile environment. I felt like I was playing in a mini Cameron Indoor Stadium. Their fans were loud and really into the game. We've come back as a team with a better understanding and commitment to each other, and you better believe we're gonna bounce back on Wednesday and make a statement.
One of Montrose's famous alums is Kevin Durant. Have you had the chance to talk with him at all now that you're playing for them?
You know, it's crazy, but Coach K actually hooked me up with Kevin. I had the chance to go out this past summer out to Vegas to the Team USA Training Camp was happening with all the young guys, like Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, and Kevin Durant and others. I had a chance to talk one on one with Kevin for awhile about Montrose and his path to the NBA. He definitely said I made the right call going to Montrose. He said working with Coach Vetter and Coach Stein was going to be really good for me as a player, and I was gonna learn how to train like a pro under those guys. Kevin is a guy I admire a great deal. The way I look at it, we went to the same school -- he's worked hard, I'm working hard, and he's where I want I want to be.
Coach K has been quoted as having really positive things to say about the Montrose program and how they develop players. How do you feel your game is evolving this season?
Coach Vetter, Coach Stein, the whole coaching staff, it's just a big time staff that demands the best from all of us as a team. It's really great getting to work out almost everyday as a team and as player. I feel like I'm putting on a lot of positive weight like Coach K asked me to, and I've been working on my post moves and my jump shot. Working with Coach Stein has been great because he's so connected with other players, both in the NBA and in college. I had the opportunity to participate in a workout he was doing with the Syracuse big man, Onawaku. Man, that was an awesome experience, seeing how hard he worked in the weight room, it just taught me so much about how I'm looking forward to going down to Durham and getting after it, inside and out.
Speaking of weight, where are you measuring out now? What's your ideal weight for when you're in college?
This is something I've talked about with Coach K a lot. I think when I get to Duke, we're looking to have me play at around 230-235. I'm at a solid 220 right now, and it's really good weight too. I do a lot of agility and ball-handling stuff almost everyday here, and Coach K is wanting me to be a versatile player when I get to Duke, kind of like Kyle Singler and Shane Battier played for Duke.
How closely are you able to follow the Blue Devils this season?
I've been watching Duke play quite a bit this year and they've had their ups and downs. They are going through some growing pains a bit, but I'm so proud of our team. I mean, Kyle is one of the, if not the best player in the ACC, and he's being game planned for every night and he's still putting up solid numbers. I'm so excited about going down and playing with those guys, especially guys like Mason Plumlee. Me and Mason have developed a really good friendship over the years. It seemed like the last few years, his team would be on one side of the championship bracket and we'd be on the other, and I just always felt like once he committed to Duke how awesome it was going to be when I got a chance to play alongside him.
Have you been able to talk with Andre Dawkins since he got to school? How is he holding up with all that's gone on with this season?
Yeah, I talk with Andre a good amount. I'm so proud of him for how hard he's fought through adversity this year. Andre's the type of guy that he doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve. I don't think he's completely all the way OK since the loss of his family member. I mean, it was just really unexpected and tragic. But, from talking with him, he seems to be fighting through and just trying to contribute the best way he can for the team. We're looking forward to playing with each other next year, I can't tell you how proud I am of him, he's gone through a lot this year, and he's still doing ok through it all.
Everyone knows about Kyrie Irving and how he's considered the jewel of the class. But that kind of leaves you and Tyler Thornton under the radar a bit. Is that a good thing or a bad thing from your perspective?
I was just talking about this with my parents, and we look at it like a blessing. I've always felt that ever since I committed I've been under the radar, and you know what, that's OK. People can keep doubting me or not thinking I'm gonna make a contribution early on, but I know I'm working to play a big role down there, and all I'm saying to the people who think we aren't going to do much is to just wait and see. I can't wait to get down to Duke and get started. We're going in to be a part of that national championship tradition at Duke, that's for sure.
A lot has been made of the Terrance Ross recruitment by Duke. How did that come about?
There were a lot of things that were put out there that I thought were really wrong. A lot of people felt like I talked Terrance out of playing for Maryland, and that just wasn't the case at all. One thing people need to remember is that every player, whether it's Harrison Barnes or Terrance Ross or myself or any other player, we all make the decision that's best for us in our minds. Now, when Terrance said he wanted to open things back up, being a teammate and knowing how good he is, I let it be known strongly that I thought Duke would be a great fit for him. I told him about how Coach K could develop him as a player. He had an opportunity to show what he could on the wing, I just told him that I felt like Duke was a great school, great campus and I thought it'd be a good fit. I gave him Coach Nate's and Coach K's numbers, and him and his mom reached out and started the recruiting process.
When he did open things up schools like Duke and Kentucky started showing interest. What was his reaction?
He said it was overwhelming, but he had some really positive things going for him. Both he and his mom talk about Duke and Coach K and Coach Nate. He put things on the back burner for the rest of the season, because he wanted to concentrate on winning the state championship like I want to. Because of that, his mom is handling a lot of things right now for him. Once the season finishes he says he's going to give a lot more attention to it.
You've been doing a lot of recruiting for Duke over the course of the last year or so. What is it you tell other players about the program?
Well, one guy that I talk to a lot that me and him have a good relationship is Quincy Miller. We've probably hung out like 10 times at games or on campus at Duke, playing open runs with guys, visiting for games, we've just got a good relationship going. I know he's got a lot of schools like Kentucky and Duke and many other schools after him. He's a great player, but I know when we're together he's always telling me how much he likes Duke and how much he likes Coach K. So with him I'm just keeping in his ear about Duke, about the school, how they can help him develop, what's the campus like. I mean, everybody saw him when we were at the Wake Forest, he was having a really good time, clapping, getting into it with the Crazies. I know he's got some big time programs after him, but I really believe he likes Duke a lot.
When you do arrive at Duke, any ideas on which number you'd like to wear?
I've been thinking and talking about this a lot with my dad, and I think we decided that I'm going to wait until we get down there. One number I've had in mind that won't happen is #33. #42 is also a good number with guys like Elton Brand wearing it. I'm sure I'll get something good when I get down there.