Q&A with Lance Hurdle

Lance Hurdle was an impact player for the Hurricanes last season. Now heading into his senior year, expectations have risen for the lighting quick guard from San Diego. Hurdle has sat out the exhibition season but will likely be ready to go once the regular season starts. Read on to see what Hurdle thinks about the upcoming year.

What does this team need to do in order to continue its success from last year?
"Play with a chip on our shoulder. We've got to stay humble and not worry about the expectations. Do what we have to do on the court and in practice."

What are some of the team's goals for this year?
"First of all, just taking it a game at a time. We might have some down times during the year but we've got to stay focused and not lose confidence in ourselves."

How is having so many returning players going to help this team?
"We're going to rely on that experience from last year a lot. We might get into some tough situations. We go to Kentucky this year. We go to a few big places. That experience is going to play a big part."

How is the energy around the team? How are you guys feeling heading into the year?
"We're excited. We can't wait to play. It's been almost since last March since we've been out on the court. We can't wait to get back out there."

How much of a motivating factor was being picked last in the ACC last season?
"It was a big part. Obviously when you're picked last no body likes that. You just go on and got to keep playing."

It's very different this year and expectations are much higher. What do you think about the new expectations for this team?
"We have to stay focused on what we have to do and not worry about other people's expectations. We have to go hard in every practice and play every game like it's our last."

Is it nice to see Miami basketball on the national radar?
"Yeah. That's definitely a credit to Coach Haith. He's brought this program to where it is."

What's been his secret to success?
"I think it's his character as a person. He's a great person and that reflects into his coaching. He can recruit McDonald's All-Americans but he turns people who want to work hard into college All-Americans. That's just a credit to him and how great of a coach he is."

What kind of a season do you expect from Jack McClinton? Would you take the same performance as last year or do you think he can be even better?
"I think he can be even better. With the way he works, nothing would surprise me when it comes to him. He's a great player."

What do you think is the biggest difference for this club?
"I don't think there's really any difference. We still have to come out and focus on what we want to do and not on everybody else's expectations. We still have to go out and practice every day like it's our last."

How much does it help to have so many veterans back that have experienced so much in their careers?
"It's good. Experience is going to play a lot this year. we might get into some tough situations and just having that veteran group is going to be a big help for us."

The team was picked fourth in the ACC. How gratifying is it to get recognized by the other teams in the ACC?
"It was nice but we still have to stay focused. We don't worry about the predictions because they're just predictions. We still have to practice hard and play hard and play every game like it's our last."

How hard is it to put that aside knowing that you're getting those accolades and are expected to be that good?
"We don't worry about that because we have our own expectations. Our expectation is to go out and play hard every game. We're not trying to live up to fourth place or anything like that. We just want to play our game and whatever happens will happen."

How hard is it to play in such a competitive conference like the ACC?
"It's tough. This league is one of the best in the country. You face a great team every night. Anything can happen in this league any night."

How did you improve form last year to this year?
"Just working on my pace and staying in the gym. I worked on coming off ball screens, shooting pull up jumpers, making smart decisions and not trying to go to fast."

Last year, the team won the Puerto Rico Tip Off but this year you will be playing in the very competitive Paradise Jam. How do you think the team will do against such a talented tournament field so early in the season?
"There's a lot of great team. You're talking about five or six tournament teams that played in the tournament last year. We're going to have to come out and play. If we can focus on the right things and do what we want to do then we're going to be successful."

How exciting is it to be playing in Rupp Arena when you face off against the Kentucky Wildcats?
"That's a blessing. That's a legendary place. It's going to be an exciting atmosphere. It's going to be tough because Kentucky's a really good team. We have to come out really focused and play our game."

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