Conversation with Coach Charles Ramsey #3

Part three of my interview with Assistant Basketball Coach Charles Ramsey. In this final portion of our conversation he discusses Dion Harris, the final two scholarships, the summer plans for the current group of players, and more.

For those who missed the first two parts of the interview, click below.

Part 1
Part 2.

Will Dani Wohl see significant time at point guard next year?

"We feel like we can definitely look at him in a backup role. We think he'll allow for us to rest Daniel Horton for significant minutes. Unfortunately, Dani had a knee injury. He tore his ACL, so the first thing that has to happen is his rehab has to go well."

What did you think of the performances of Dion Harris and Courtney Simms in the Jordan Capital Classic?

"There was one particular situation that made us feel really good as a coaching staff. There was a minute to go in the game and Dion and Courtney's team was up 104-100. The coach then went to the bench and subbed both of them in for defensive purposes. That really made us feel pretty good. It really said something that the coach wanted them on the floor at that time. Courtney had a big block down the stretch. He's a presence. He's going to be able to do things that we haven't had young men do."

Speaking of Dion, where do you foresee using him the most next year?

"There's not a doubt in my mind that he could back up the one, the two, or the three. That said, he'll be a wing. Our wings and two guards play basically the same. The two and the three mirror each other on our team. The thing about Dion is he may be our best ball-handler."

Even better than Daniel Horton?

"He just may be. I have a mentor named Doc Simms and his nickname for Dion is "Old School." He nicknamed Dion that because the kid is so fundamentally sound. He throws the bounce pass, the chest pass, and gets the ball to the open guy in his hands. Those are lost arts in today's game."

I've seen Dion play eight or nine times now. One of those games was the big time showdown between he and LeBron James in Cleveland earlier this year. (Dion vs. LeBron) In trying to critique his game, the only real potentially inhibitive tendency that I observed was how much he favored his right hand/side. Do you see that being an issue and how might you correct it?

"I don't think that'll hinder him at all. It's one of those little things that he'll work on when he gets here. For instance, when Lester got here he used to jump into his shot. When we started working with Lester we wanted him to step into his shot. He worked hard at it and you saw the result. He had a great year shooting the basketball and is going to get even better. So, Dion will work on the little things like that. That's what we're here for. It's just a matter of repetition and hard work."

"As for the game against LeBron, Dion was hurt when he played in Cleveland. He probably shouldn't have participated. He got undercut the day before in practice and fell on his neck. The scary thing was the whole right side of his head and shoulder area went numb. They had to take him in for neurological tests. He shouldn't have played. It took three weeks for all of the numbness to go away. But to his credit, he really wanted to play because of the magnitude of it."

In the past you've had several players play on various summer league teams and others participate in camps, like the Pete Newell big man camp. Are there any such plans for any of your players this year?

"We're trying to get all of that worked out. We're trying to get a young man on the Big Ten all star team. We anticipate Daniel participating in USA basketball again this summer. We also probably will be getting our post players in a post camp. So we'll keep them very involved and active along with working with our strength and conditioning guy during the summer."

What positions will you be trying to address with your final two scholarships?

"That's a tough one. Right now we're trying to figure out if we should use one more in 04 and save the other one for 05 or should we go ahead and use both in 04. We're probably looking at a post with one of those ships."

Do you feel it's important to land a point guard in next year's class?

"It's not crucial. However, there's a certain young man in next year's class that we would definitely take if he told us he wanted to come."

Finally, give your opinion on Lavell Blanchard's pro prospects?

"He'll definitely have to be a three. Lavell is a great shooter. He can flat out shoot the basketball. The one thing I told him before he left for one of the camps was to SHOOT THE BALL! Rebound too! Those are things he can do really well. That's what he needs to focus on when he goes to the camps like the one in Chicago. Focus on the things that he can do well."

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