What is your outlook this year compared to the first two years you were here?
"Just being smarter and being a veteran, I want to be a leader this season. The first two years I was kinda coming through with my eyes closed. I didn't know what to expect. Now I'm talking to all my coaches and teammates about how everything needs to go and what everyone needs to do. I think I have a better outlook on what's going on."
With the deeper bench this year how much better is it going to be for the team compared to last season?
"It's going to be better for everybody. We have a lot of depth going in and we have different weapons at each position. At point guard, shooting guard, small forward we have many different things that we can do with our offensive and defensive schemes this year."
How's your "stroke" been so far this year?
"It's looking real good. I'm just staying in the gym and coming to the gym at night getting shots up on my own or with my teammates. I'm keeping my form right and making sure everything is good to go."
What will your role be this year?
"Basically my role will be to knock down shots and play good defense. That's the key thing. If I'm knocking down shots and playing good defense, I'll stay on the court. If I'm doing those two things, it will be a good year and help take some of the weight off the big men. There will be no double teams and they can go one on one."
"It will allow me to be more aggressive as far as attacking the paint. If I'm going to attack the paint to get a pull up jump shot I have Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal crashing the boards to get a rebound. You also have Zach Peacock, Brad Sheehan, and Daniel Miller. Having the big men that we have is going to be great."
Does a three guard offense suit your game?
"That suits my game with a lot of dribble drive and kick out. The dribble drives will get the floor spread and let people go from there with screens and get our big men to step out. You don't want anything cluttered and crowded in the lane."
What is your impression of the freshmen class?
"They've all come in to learn even Derrick Favors as highly touted a recruit that he was as the number one player. He comes in to learn every day. He's not a cocky guy. He's very humble and down to earth. They all have different personalities. Mfon Udofia is a good tough point guard. He's come in and has been very vocal with all the guys. He's making sure he's become a leader out there on the court. That's a good sign for the future."
The deeper bench should help the team in close games down the stretch?
"Yeah, last year everybody said we were a thirty six minute team. We weren't able to finish. I think with the more depth we have and with the Coach Hewitt getting guys in and out there should be no reason why we shouldn't be able to press and put good pressure on our opponents and run out and get good baskets. If we stay healthy it should be a good year for everybody."
How has the competition level been in practice?
"It's been great. It makes sure everyone is pushed. Everybody wants playing time and wants to be on the court. It's not just getting you prepared for the game it's making you a better ball player. You have to come in prepared every day and not take a day off."
How important will defensive intensity be this season as opposed to the offense?
"Defensive intensity is should always be important. If we play the defense we want to and put pressure and cause turnovers the offense should be easier. That should lead to easy breakout baskets and easy points. Our defense is going to carry over to our offense."