On what led to the decision: I just want to be able to get my degree and play another year in front of some good fans and develop myself as a man and on the court also. I feel like it’s a good opportunity for me. I’m just ready to seize the moment.
On the process of making the decision: It was a tough process just knowing I have a chance to go make some money. I’m willing to do whatever at this university to leave my legacy and I’m ready to do that.
On why he didn't test the waters: Just my heart and what I think is best for me. I think it’s best for me to just heal my shoulder all the way. My shoulder isn’t back 100 percent yet and I think it’d be me rushing into it and trying to play when I’m not ready to. I just feel like me resting and hiding behind the scenes a little bit and trying to come back a new person with my body changed and things like that.
On who he talked to and the reaction: I never really talked to anybody during the process besides coach and my mom. I heard the same thing I was hearing, early second round or mid-second round whether I came out or not. I think my decision was just weighed on how I was feeling in my heart and my heart is just to stay here one more year and try to get things done. Coach Prohm at first wanted me to go and maybe test the waters without an agent just to see how I felt. Talking with my mom, I didn’t really want to do that if I wasn’t going to all the way put my foot in the water to go to the NBA. Why go test the waters when you know you’re coming back to school? I feel like it would have kind of been a waste of time. My mom was with me the whole way. She never told me what she wanted me to do until after I told her I was coming back to school then she said, ‘Yeah, I wanted you to do that anyway.’ She was just going to go with me regardless.
What Naz Mitrou-Long was saying: Me and Naz have a great relationship. I just told him, if he’s sticking around here and the opportunity approaches I’d love to go out with him as seniors with him having his setback. I threw some shots at him during the year just to keep him going like, ‘Man, we could be something nice in the backcourt some day.’ I told him this after the Kansas game and he said he was going to hold me to it.
On wanting to play with his teammates one more year: I definitely want to play with them, especially the young guy we’ve got, Donovan Jackson. I hear he’s going to be pretty good and I feel like we can coexist with each other and play together in the backcourt. I definitely want to play more off the ball this season and run off more screens and shoot the ball a little bit more. With Donovan coming in, we definitely could spice up some things and give other teams a different look.
On him and Donovan Jackson: I went to Coach Prohm as a man and just told him just, ‘I’m going to talk to Donovan.’ I talked to Donovan early this morning, FacedTimed him, and just talked to him about how I was in the same situation being Mr. Basketball in high school and coming in with Bubu [Palo] here and DeAndre [Kane] a late signing as a senior. [I told him], ‘Just don’t hold your head down just thinking you’re not going to play because there’s going to be minutes out there and opportunities.’ I just told him we’re going to get this thing rolling and you’re going to have a chance to play with me, I’m going to have a chance to play with you in the same backcourt together. I just want the kid to come in and work and know it’s not really competition between me and him. I’m just trying to win games and hopefully me and him can play in the backcourt and dominate.
On the NBA feedback: They just say my IQ is at an all-time high and they know I can play with those NBA point guards, they just want to know if I can bang with them just because of my physical size. They want me to gain probably 10 pounds and just see a transformation in my body. I think that’s the biggest thing for me. You see I’ve got a big pasta dish now as opposed to McDonald’s. So I’m trying to change my ways a little bit. They tell me they want me to knock down my 3-point shot consistently and coach has been on me big about that. I just have to put in a tremendous amount of work, which I’m capable of doing. I think with me running off the ball and getting out in transition with my speed it just shows a different approach and dimension this team can go.