Shumpert - We Were Supposed to Win

Iman Shumpert is working his way back after missing six games with a knee injury. The Jackets game with Duke was another test for both Iman and his knee. Iman gives us his post game comments on both subjects and the game.

Coach mentioned that Gani got you guys going before the game?

"Yeah, we were trying to find ourselves before the game. We were just trying to find something that everybody likes to do. Gani initiated something and it became our ritual. In the locker room he's always even keel. If he had a bad day you don't know about it. He dedicates himself everyday. He's either shooting free throws or working on post moves with Derrick. They lift after games. They're truly dedicated right now."

How did you feel you did in the matchup against Duke's perimeter players?

"I think we did well. I think a lot of the pressure we put on them in the full court deadened their legs a little bit. They got some open shots but I don't think they were able to finish because we were applying a lot of pressure to them the whole game. With the depth we have, we have to use it to our advantage. That's just the way we play."

It seemed you came up with a lot of loose balls down the stretch?

"During the first couple of games, I think I flinched a little bit on loose balls because of my knee. I shouldn't have. Now that I had the surgery, I don't flinch anymore. I don't even wear a brace because it feels so good. I know I can go into big plays and know it's not going to be hurt. I think I've had a full recovery and my knee feels really good. Now it's just a matter of getting it as strong as it was."

How big was this win as you get ready to go on the road for two games?

"I think the biggest thing was not to go down 0-2 in the ACC. It wasn't like we were going into this game thinking we have to upset Duke. A lot of people were saying this would be a big upset. We were looking at it like we were supposed to beat Florida State and this was supposed to be a good matchup. We were supposed to beat Dayton and Georgia. This was supposed to be a good matchup. We went out there and got the win like we were supposed to."

With the talent on the team, it seems that this may not be as big an upset as some may think?

"Definitely, a lot of guys stormed the court. We were just focused on shaking hands. I think last year when we beat Wake Forest we were all jumping around. This year it's just not like that. We know we were supposed to win that game. In the ACC you have to win your home games and steal a couple of away games. It's not easy winning on the road but you have to defend your home court."

I guess you used the Wake game as a reminder? "We wanted to stay even keel off the win. The same way we played today we have to play again on Wednesday. Everybody is going to take care of their bodies and get treatment and go into Wednesday ready to play hard."

Do you go back to that game as far as you making the last play?

"I go back to that game as Coach Hewitt having the confidence to put it in my hands. When I have the ball in my hands I feel the coaching staff and my teammates have confidence in me. That makes me a lot more comfortable having the ball."

It's a lot easier the second time around after having one year under your belt?

"Definitely, You begin to understand the time to score. I don't think I understood at all as a freshman. You have to know when your team has gone a while without a basket. You have to know that you've shot too many threes and haven't got the ball inside to your post player. I think I'm conscience of that stuff now."

Is that something you're helping Moo with?

"He's picking it up fast. Of course he's not going to know everything right away. Every once in a while I bump him and say it's time to get it inside. He's definitely figuring it out."

What did you think of the atmosphere?

"It's Duke. You can see it before the game started with people lining up under each basket trying to watch the layup line. You could feel the energy. The first three minutes your mouth is dry. There was so much energy in the stadium."

Do you feel the team learned how good it can be when you play with this type of energy?

"I think we always play with the same energy defensively. At the end of the game we didn't focus on loose balls like we did this time. The guards were jumping in the air trying to get the rebounds. Usually the big men are clearing it out and we as guards don't do a good job of going down there and getting the ones that bounce around. Today I think me and Moo and Brian and D'Andre dove in there to get them."

You were playing the two man game today with the big coming up to pick for you and open up the floor?

"I like that. It gives Gani a free reign to the basket."

Was the loss to Georgia a gut check for the team?

"It's hard to say. It's a rivalry game. We did want to go over there and make history. We really wanted that game. I think we stayed pretty even keeled. We didn't want to get too riled up and come out and lay an egg. We wanted to come out and execute our game plan."

How did you stop Singler?

"I think Singler is used to a bigger player guarding him. D'Andre is pretty strong and quick at the same time. I think it was a good matchup."


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