How do you think the team is dealing with the big expectations this year?
We've got to start all over again. Expectations are there but we've just got to keep working hard and I think good things will happen.
What do you think your role is on the team this year?
I've just got to play hard every game. Don't try to do too much. Just do what the coach expects me to do. Rebound, play hard and make my open shots and my minutes will increase over the season.
How was the adjustment for you coming over here last season?
It was tough on and off the court. I came from Europe, so I was a long way from home. It was a new city…new people…new style of basketball. It took me a year to get used to it. I feel confident now and I feel good. It's a blessing to be in such a great environment and great school.
What do you think the three freshmen can add to the team?
They can add a lot of things. Rodney (Purvis) is strong and he can take it to the hoop. Tyler (Lewis) is a great point guard with great vision. T.J. (Warren) is a great scorer. So, they can do a lot of things.
How hard is it to defend a scorer like T.J.?
I think you can't defend him. He's going to get his shot off. He makes awkward layups and awkward shots… he makes all different types of shots. It just makes it hard to defend him. He's good.
Do you feel like this team has the potential to be a good defensive team?
Yeah, definitely. You've got guys like Rich (Howell) and C.J. (Leslie)... we can score, but we can also defend. In the ACC that's pretty important.
Were the teams you played in Spain very physical and if so, how will that experience benefit the team this year?
Yeah, we played a lot of experienced guys that have played in Spain's first division. That really helped us. They play a different style of basketball over there, so that helped us adjust our defense a little bit. It was good for us.
How hungry is this team, given that you guys are picked to win the league?
The hunger is really there. We've been working hard all summer. The trip to Spain really helped us because we got to start a little bit early with that. We just all want it. We've got some seniors on the team and some guys that might go in to the (NBA) draft. So they know that this might be their last chance. We really want it.
Does DeShawn Painter leaving open up and opportunity for you?
It definitely does. He was my roommate last year and we were good friends. So, it's sad to see him leave, but it opens up and opportunity for me to fill his minutes. I've just got to play hard.
What aspects of your game did you work on this summer?
I worked a lot in the weight room. Gaining weight and getting stronger. I worked on my shot a lot, in order to get my release quicker. I also worked on shooting off the dribble, which I think is important for my position.