Giddens Returns to the Hardwood

In an exclusive interview with Phog.net, Kansas signee J.R. Giddens discloses his injury status and discusses his recent selection as a finalist for the McDonald's All-American game.

(OKLAHOMA CITY) Giddens hasn't played since Jan. 11 due to a stress
fracture in his left foot, but Phog.net caught up with him this afternoon,
just hours before making his return to the court vs. undefeated and Class
5A's third-ranked Southeast High School in Oklahoma City.

Phog.net: Tell us about your doctor's appointment this morning. What did he tell you?

Giddens: "He said the bone's filling in the crack, so therefore, he released me to play tonight. He just told me not to do any sprints in practice and to do my exercise on the bike. He said if my foot gives me trouble to tell my coaches, so they can control my playing time."

Phog.net: How's your foot feel? Does it still bother you?

Giddens: "I'm not sure if my foot is sore, but my ankle's sore. I sprained my ankle and having it in that cast kind of hurt it a little more. I'm just scared to maybe go up and dunk on someone off one foot. Maybe I'll dunk on someone with two feet, because my foot's not completely ready yet."

Phog.net: If the pain in your foot continues, what options would you consider?

Giddens: "I'd probably sit out, because I think my future in college is a little bit more important than high school basketball. I mean, it's just high school basketball. I'll be able to get back out there and go, because I've broken my hand and obviously overcome some knee injuries before this. Those haven't slowed me down, so I'll get up and keep fighting."

Phog.net: What's the plan for you playing tonight vs. Southeast?

Giddens: "I'm coming off the bench, because I haven't practiced. That's probably best that way I can get back in the mix and see how things go. I'll just see what I can do from there, but I still plan to do what I do."

Phog.net: What are your goals for the remainder of the season?

Giddens: "I want to win all the games and not lose any, because that guarantees a state championship. I really don't have any individual goals, but if they put me on (Oklahoma's) Super Five or name me player of the year, it's whatever. I don't care about that stuff right now. I just wanna win."


Phog.net: Speaking of achievements, congratulations on your recent selection as a finalist for McDonald's All-American. What are your thoughts on the honor?

Giddens: "That'd be great, because I really want to be in that three-point contest and dunk contest. Playing in that game vs. the best in the nation would just show what I can do like I did at the Nike Camp. If I'm not selected, it'll hurt a little bit, but hey, they'll still see me in college next year."

Phog.net: Do you feel like you deserve the nod for McDonald's All-American?

Giddens: "For as hard as I've worked, yeah, I deserve it. I played against the best teams in the nation with my AAU team and we really don't lose too many games. I went back and forth with Ndudi (Ere) (an Arizona signee and one of the nation's top-ranked seniors) last summer, so I've obviously proven myself, but it's up to them to choose me."

Phog.net: It's been a tough week for Kansas this past week, considering the Colorado loss, Arizona's comeback victory and then last night's thrilling romp past Texas. What's your opinion of the way Kansas is playing right now?

Giddens: "Every team has its ups and downs, but they turned it up last night. They did a great job, especially Aaron Miles guarding T.J. Ford. I thought everybody played tough, but once they get Wayne (Simien) back, it'll be a lot different. It's hard to adjust without him, because he's one of the key scorers and rebounders they depend on for minutes. Now, other players that probably weren't ready to play are being forced to step up, but they're handling it. I think Jeff Graves, Mike Lee and (Moulaye) Niang are doing a good job."

Phog.net: When do you plan to move to Lawrence and how much do you expect to contribute as a freshman next season?

Giddens: "I'll attend summer school there to get used to classes and get some credits out of the way. As for my freshman year, I just want to do whatever I can. Obviously, everyone's goal is to start and work as hard as you can. If that doesn't happen, hopefully, I mean most likely, I'll get some playing time. I see myself coming in to contribute some rebounds and hit a few buckets to take the pressure off key guys like Aaron Miles and Keith Langford. As you can see, when they need people to score and that's not happening, that hurts the team. I want to take the pressure off those scorers and not allow them to be double-teamed. That frees them up and allows us to go on ahead and win ball games."

Phog.net: J.R., thanks for your time today and good luck vs. Southeast.

Giddens: "Anytime. I go into every game thinking I'm going to win. Now that I'm back on the court, I actually have control over what happens. I figure we're not going to lose here or at Kansas."


Phog.net Top Stories