What did you do to your (left) wrist?
I sprained it back at home (in Waterloo) with Mike (Henderson). I kind of fell on it the wrong way playing one-on-one with him. It was bothering me for a while. It still is bothering me. But the more I play on it the better it feels and stronger it gets.
How, exactly, did it happen?
When I fell, my wrist was under me in an awkward type of position. It kind of popped. Right after I did it, it didn't bother me much. But when I got back home and settled down a bit, it was like having crazy pain through there.
What have the doctors told you?
They told me don't do anything. They told me to sit out for a while and let it heal. Otherwise, I'll just keep re-aggravating the injury, and it will never heal up in a timely manner. I sat out for about two weeks and didn't do anything except conditioning and things like that. But it came along.
What parts of your game have you been working on in the off-season?
I'm trying to get extremely good coming off of screens; being able to knock down shots; trying to simplify my game. It really hit me that I really need to simplify my game because sometimes I get carried away with that playground style of ball. That's not what you need to be doing at the college level. I'm also focusing on getting real good at passing off of the dribble and one-dribble pull-ups and just my midrange game.
You started off really well last season in a reserve role. You had a real nice game at Drake. Then, Pierre leaves and your role changes. It seemed to throw you off of your game a little. Did you feel that?
Actually, I did. I don't know. I was going through some things mentally at that time. After Pierre left, it wasn't the fact that he left and there was more pressure on me. It was that things didn't go the way that I thought they would go after he left. I went through a spell where I got kind of down and confused and didn't know exactly what my role was. So, I really didn't know what to do out there on the court. It confused me. But I pretty much know what to expect for next year and know what I need to prepare for.
Did you feel like you would get more minutes when Pierre left and move into his spot instead of Jeff moving to the two spot and Mike playing PG?
I didn't really expect to get his spot. But I did expect to get more minutes and to get more of an opportunity out there on the floor. For whatever reason, it didn't really go that way. It's the coach's call. It didn't go that way. It kind of got me a little frustrated and a little confused. I kind of lost confidence. It showed. It affected my play the remainder of that season.
You still are part of a pretty stocked backcourt. What do you feel your role will be?
I think I'll fit into the system a lot better this year. The guys that we have…I don't know if anybody on the team knows how to move without the ball as well as I do. If I could get real good at just moving without the ball and keep the defense on their toes, I think I'll have a spot. I think that I fit into our system very well. What's most important for me in the off-season is to get good at that. I think I'll be able to see those minutes on the floor that I would like to see and be able to contribute the way that I would like to.
What did you learn most from your freshman year?
Everything is not going to go your way all of the time. Sometimes you have to sit and learn even though you may feel confident that you're ready. There's a lot more to it than just basketball. There are a lot more things that you have to learn than just going out there and playing. I had to let that soak in and really understand that.
What's it going to take for this team to advance passed where it did last season?
We know what it takes to get there. We know how it feels to be there. But it didn't feel good to get there and then get sent right back home. Preparation starts now during the summer. The harder we work this summer will affect how we play come the fall.
How can you contribute to this team defensively?
I have to be the one to move without the ball and I also have to be the one that's able to guard that guy. I'm real good at sliding around and missing screens. I'm quick enough that I can go out and put a little pressure out on guys and still be able to stay in front of them. I think I can help our big guys on the screen and rolls and those types of things.