Q and A with Demetri McCamey
Freshman point guard Demetri McCamey showed flashes of brilliance in his first season as a Fighting Illini. The 6'3" former St. Joseph's star played in every game this year, starting 17 contests. He erupted for 31 points against Indiana and followed that up with a 26 point outing against Purdue in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. He finished the season fourth in scoring at 8.2 points per game and dished out 3.3 assists per game.
McCamey found the time to answer some questions from InsideIllini.com about the past year and what he feels is on the horizon for the team.
How tough was the transition from high school to Big Ten basketball?
"Physically, the transition was really smooth. The discipline and mental part of the game were the biggest adjustments. The games are a little bit quicker and you can adjust to that, but you need to have the mental toughness to succeed at this level."
Coach Weber has talked about you becoming more of a leader next year, are you up to the challenge?
"Yeah, not a problem. Whatever coach wants me to do. If he wants me to be a leader and help my teammates, I will. I'll do whatever needs to be done to help the team win games."
What are you going to do to get better this summer? What will your workout sessions be like?
"I'll probably drop a couple of more pounds to get quicker. Besides that, my focus will be on defense and working on my pull-up jumper. A typical workout will consist of a bunch of running and shooting."
Did being left off all the conference post-season awards motivate you in the Big Ten tournament? Do you consider yourself as one of the best players in the conference?
"I thought I had a good freshmen season. I made the necessary adjustments more so during the second half of the season. I just took that in and played hard every game. [The awards snub] gave me more motivation going into the Big Ten Tournament, and really, our whole team was motivated to prove that we were a better team than how we played during the regular season."
What advice have you given your younger brother, DeAndre, about recruiting?
"I've told him not to worry about it too much right now because he is only a sophomore. Just look at all of the letters and see what schools interest you, then next year separate the contenders from the pretenders. I would tell all recruits to not worry too much about the process, focus more on their seasons and enjoy high school."
After a disappointing season, what have you and your teammates talked about to make sure Illinois is back in the post-season next March?
"Just go out and practice hard in the summer. Coach Weber said a lot of guys didn't get better last summer and that's why we didn't have as good of a season as we wanted. Everyday, we are coming in and working hard as a team. There's no messing around. We are going at a high intensity level. Coaches aren't going to accept laziness. We just need to continue that kind of play all summer."
Going into his sophomore season, McCamey appears to have all the makings of a star point guard. The Illini will need an ever-improving McCamey in 2008-09, along with improvements from the rest of the team, to return to post-season play come mid-March. We hope to keep up with the entire Illini team during the summer workout season to see how much progress is being made, so stay tuned right here at InsideIllini.com.
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