Julius Hodge Q&A

<B>GREENSBORO, N.C.--</b> NC State guard Julius Hodge was named preseason All-ACC by the media at the annual ACC Operation Basketball. The Wolfpack senior fielded questions from the media and here's a sampler of what he had to say.

What have you been working on over the summer?
Creating off the dribble, creating space to allow me to shoot my pull-up jumper. I'd been going to the gym to shoot like 40,000 stand-still three pointers, but when it comes down to a game I probably get like two of those every four games. So, I've really been smarter on working on my game, and making it a game situation, and really taking shots that I'd actually take in a game.

Thoughts on ACC expansion:
I guess expansion can be a positive, it's more teams, and better competition, hopefully.

Does it hurt to lose some old rivalries, how you won't get to go to Cameron [Indoor Stadium at Duke]?
We won't get to go to Cameron? Man, that's a tough one for us. We go there and lose by 30 every time. I don't think we'll miss that game. We do get to play Duke at home, that's always a pleasure.

Thoughts on the guards in the ACC:
The guards this year are very talented, starting with the one on my team, Tony Bethel. Day in and day out, he gets better in practice, he's a hard worker, a young quick guard who can really shoot the lights out.

What makes you a fun player to play with?
I love the game, I love to play basketball. I'm very grateful for my situation, and being from New York and growing up near Rucker Park, I tend to want to be an entertainer also.

Thoughts on NC State being slighted again in the preseason polls:
I see us as the lunchbaggers of the ACC. We just continue to go to work every day, to try to work the hardest, and get the job done. And if we can do that, and we have no setbacks, no major injuries, and everyone comes to practice ready to play, which I'm going to make sure everyone does, I think towards the end of the year it may be a surprise who's the number one team in the ACC.

On adding 15 lbs. of muscle over the summer:
It will make me look sexier at the beach.

On his unusually casual outfit (jeans, untucked button-down shirt):
I just thought I'd be different. All these guys are lookin' uptight with their suits on. I thought I'd just be myself, you know.

How did you recover from the Vanderbilt game?
I don't think I was injured or hurt that bad that I had to recover. Every team at the end of year loses a game they should have won, except for the national champion. That was the game the we lost, and we've gotten better since then. So we can use that as a learning tool, and it gives us that much more experience and makes us that much better for the upcoming season.

When you came out of high school, did you expect to play four years?
As a young guy you usually say and think things a little bit prematurely. As a young guy I wanted a national championship right away, and things like that take time, unless you have a great supporting cast as a young player and something special happens. I can't say that I saw myself staying in college for four years, but as close as I am to my degree [in Theater], with seven credits remaining, and with my mom wanting that degree for me so badly, I just thought why not stay, you know? The NBA's not going anywhere.

On Rashad McCants having a knack for controversy:
I think he's a good player. He brings different things to his team. And he tries to help his team win just like everyone else does. I think he hears that there's a guy in Raleigh, and the media tends to love him, and he wants some of the shine, but sometimes he takes it in the wrong manner. But I don't think he's a bad-hearted guy, he's a good guy.

On playing with Tony Bethel
He's a guy that loves to win. Not only that he loves to win, but he hates to lose more. And that's how I am. Most guys love to win, but when it comes to losing it's like, "I don't like the way it feels." Me and him, we hate that feeling of losing. I don't like to be looked at as a loser, because I worked so hard to be the best that I can be. Tony is the same way. And he's a point guard who can also play two, and I look at myself as the same player, versatile in that way.

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