Moving Forward

Pierre Pierce tipped off his PTL season Monday night by notching 43 Points. The junior guard spent much of the early summer helping kids learn the game at camps, taking another step in putting behind him a tough first couple of years at Iowa. "I look back at the situation, and I know that things happen for a reason," he said. "That's something I will not forget and will always use as a lesson."

How did it feel playing in your first PTL game?

I'm just trying to get to know the other players a little bit. We've got a pretty good team. Hopefully, this summer, we can finally win the championship.

Hod do you feel about your played, and what do you think you'll have to improve before the season?

I'm trying to work on every aspect of my game. I'm in the gym every day working on jump shots; ball handling; in the weight room. I'm going to be around basketball all summer pretty much and continue to work on my game.

How has it been playing with some of your new teammates?

It's good. I finally had a chance to play with everybody (Sunday) night for a couple of hours. We've got a good group of guys coming back; plus, the recruiting class we've got coming in. So, we're going to be pretty tough next year.

How do your legs feel?

It's getting there. Working a lot of camps, I haven't really had a chance to get game-time run like (Monday). I was a little winded a couple of times, but it will come back as the summer keeps going.

How was the camp?

Camp was all right. It was fun. Any time you can work a camp with little kids, it's just a blast. It's working at something you love doing; getting paid for it during the summer time.

How do you look back on last season? You guys had big hopes. They fell short, and it ended on a bitter note.

I look back at it as we had a team that didn't quit. We went through a lot of things last year. Looking back on it all, we still finished fourth in the Big Ten. That's definitely underachieving from our standards. But to finish fourth with what we had and end on a sour note, we definitely want to come back stronger next year. A last-second shot to end the season, we're looking forward to revenge with Saint Louis this year.

When this year's opponents look at tapes of you from last year, they're going to work hard on keeping you out of the lane. Do you feel like your jumper has come along where you can keep them honest?

Definitely. The scouting report is all around. I'm going to try to be the hardest working player that I can be this summer and put a lot of hours in the gym.

What are you working on from a technical aspect with your outside shot?

I'm just trying to get as many reps as possible. With more repetition comes a natural feeling. I'm just shooting as much as a can with the machine to shoot unlimited jump shots at night. It's about sticking to the same form and the same rotation. They'll start to fall.

Is it the same concept in FT shooting?

Yeah. It's all coming together. With the outside shooting, with the free throw shooting, with my defense, ball handling, I'm going into my third year now, and it should all fall into place.

You were able to overcome a lot to play through last season. Do you feel like your problems are far into your past?

I'm just going out every game and trying to play. I look back at the situation, and I know that things happen for a reason. I had a great support system with me. It's something that I will always remember and look back on and learn lessons from. That's something I will not forget and will always use as a lesson.

Did you ever, even once, doubt yourself for staying at Iowa when going somewhere else might have been easier?

Not at all. I knew the situation with my coaching staff and my family and my teammates. This is like home to me, Iowa City. I'm definitely glad that I made the decision to stay.

There were times last season where the crowds let you have it, like Illinois. Did that get to you at all?

It's the Big Ten. It's a mindset. You go into Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, you've got 15,000-plus fans going against you. It's something that I live for. I can't wait to get back on the road again next year.

You guys probably won't get much preseason hype. How will you take that?

Yeah. A lot of people want to underestimate us every year. That's something we like. We want that chip on our shoulders. We want to prove people wrong, prove the doubters wrong. I think we've got a great team. I think things are going to start to go the Hawkeyes way.

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