Locker Room: Wolfpack Players

Pack players Julius Hodge, Andrew Brackman, Cedric Simmons and Cameron Bennerman answer questions about the Wolfpack's 94-60 romp over Liberty in Reynolds Coliseum Saturday afternoon.


Did you know how close you were to a triple-double?
I knew I was close, but I still tried to play the game and win by as much as possible.

Were you mad that Andrew Brackman stole your 10th rebound?
Did I have 10 assists? It's all right. Me and Andrew board up like that. He came in off the bench and played well for us.

What did you think of the atmosphere here at Reynolds?
It definitely feels good to get a game in here in Reynolds Coliseum. What I didn't like too much was the heat. It felt like summer in there. I know I lost about five pounds with my metabolism. The crowd was definitely into it, guys were playing hard, we did a better job rebounding, we made our free throws and we got a good win today. Today was a positive for us.

Can you talk about your all-around game, with 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists?
I just wanted to come out here today and make my free throws. That was the first thing I was thinking about, because when I do that, I can play well. But my teammates put me in good positions to score and I did a very good job of that today. And then I also got them easy baskets. Ced Simmons came in and gave us a big lift at the end of the first half, and that's what we need to continue our success.


What weight are you most comfortable at?
I want to get to 230 [pounds]. Once I get to 230, I'll see how I am and see how I can move and do all that, and then go from there. I feel pretty much the same [with the added weight]. Coach [Larry] Hunter says that my frame can probably hold about 230 and it would still be good.

Do you ever stop moving on the court? You seem so active for a young player.
I try not to. Coming up, my dad was a coach, and he always said that if you're standing still, you're not doing anything. So I just try to keep moving and get in the play and get in the flow of the game.

What's it like getting assists from a player of Julius Hodge's caliber?
If you do a good job, you'll hear you did a good job. If you don't do good, you're going to hear you don't do good. So you better do something with the ball when you get it. If Jules feeds you, having an All-American feed you like that, it's just a great experience. You'd better finish around the hoop.

It seems like you have a good relationship with Hodge.
It's just kind of one of those relationships, new guy coming in, veteran coming in. We don't really play the same positions, so he can't put me under his wing like he does Gavin [Grant], but he gives me advice and he's real supportive of what I do on the court and off the court. He gives me basketball advice; if I do something wrong here, he'll correct me.

What were your thoughts on Reynolds Coliseum, playing your first game here?
Oh, I love it. I love Reynolds. It gets loud and I like having the people so close to the court. It gives you more energy.


What's been the toughest transition from high school for you?
The game will be going so fast that sometimes you're like, "Whoa."

How does it feel to be set up by passes from Hodge?
It feels good that he's unselfish and he's looking for me. Then he gives me a high-five every time I score, so that boosts my confidence and makes me feel good.

Can you take us through the fast break that you finished with a big jam?
I didn't see it coming. We were in transition and Julius was in front of us, so I just tried to run down the middle of the lane like I always do, and he just tapped it back to me and I finished. I wasn't going to dunk it at first, but …

Where are you on Coach Sendek's learning curve?
I really don't know. Sometimes, some days in practice I don't compete like I should. They're just throwing a lot of things at me … but I'm coming along pretty fast.

What were your thoughts on playing in Reynolds for the first time?
The atmosphere is loud and the fans are right on top of you. They seem like they're right there. The RBC is a whole lot bigger, but Reynolds, it's so hot in there. It felt good though; I want to play in there again.


On a personal level, how much has it meant to you to carve out a bigger role on this team?
I'm motivated to do well for myself, for the team and just for NC State fans. Like I said, we all have minor elements to contribute to the team, and I just feel like as long as everybody has the confidence that they need … Not selfishly, but the confidence that you can do certain things and have the smarts to recognize it. You have to put it all together. It's hard to isolate just one thing, but personally, I feel like my confidence is at an all-time high and I'm playing well. I need to step up as a junior and taken on a major role.

Coach Sendek has said that the biggest improvement you've made has been in your shooting. Do you agree with that?
That makes me more of a threat. I've always just been known as an offensive rebounder and just a slasher and defense. But my shooting, NBA range and beyond, will open up my drives. And then, once I get in the paint, then I can get the assist. I'm just trying to be more of the complete ballplayer that I know I am; I'm just trying to show people what I can do.

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