I've just been getting in better shape, playing more under control, taking better shots and just playing hard. I've got some really good trainers at home and they're really working me pretty well.
What did you focus on improving over that stretch?
Just going hard, rebounding the ball. Staying focused, rebounding – and being on the floor a lot longer.
And being on the floor longer is because you're in better shape?
Way better shape. I've been running a lot, lifting weights, working on body control and getting on the ladder a lot.
You've clearly lost a lot of weight. What made you get more serious about that?
Just taking care of your body so you can lead your team. At home we have a big school so I need to be on the floor more to lead them.
Despite losing weight, you're still very much able to push people around in the paint.
When you get in better shape, you get to play aggressive for longer; you can play strong throughout the game. It's way easier when you're in good shape to play sronger.
You showed a good feel for the game and setting up your teammates. How did that develop?
It developed by having great teammates. We have a really good team, everyone can score, so when I drew attention it's easy for me to get assists.
But it's also not common to see a big man have such a leadership role spacing everyone out and directing the offense.
I've played in this league twice so I know how it can get really scrappy and space can be a problem with a fast team, so I just tell my guys that if we keep the spacing we can get it done every time.
How are you enjoying the whole recruiting process? Is it overwhelming?
It's fun. You only get to do it one time so it's pretty cool. … It's probably just (overwhelming) for my parents. They talk to the coaches the most.
When do you think you'll get serious about making a decision?
I don't know yet. It'll be pretty soon. I'm starting to narrow it down, starting to get a feel for it, so it'll be pretty soon.
What schools are you considering right now?
Duke, North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Florida and Ohio State
How did you come up with that list – are those finalists?
I don't know, it's not really a (final) list. I'm still open, those are just some of the schools that are really on me right now. … It's going to be pretty hard (to narrow it down). I'm just going to talk to my parents and the people in my circle and I'll get it down soon.
Are you planning to take any more visits anytime soon?
Yeah, I'll probably check out a couple schools later on in the summer.
Which head coaches have you talked to thus far and what have they been telling you?
I've talked to Coach K a couple times, Thad Matta a lot of times. They just talk to me about getting in their system, finishing my year strong and keep playing hard.
Have you talked to Roy Williams?
Yes, I've talked to him once or twice. He was supposed to come to one of our games but he was sick. But, yeah, I'm talking to him a lot.
From watching the college basketball season, what were your takeaways from the schools you're considering?
Ohio State, the spacing and how they get their bigs the ball and control tempo, they did a really good job with that the whole entire year. That's a really good school for an elite big man. And North Carolina, of course, with their spread offense and the way they get down in the post and the secondary break, it's really good for a big man - anybody can play in that. Anybody can play in that. And Duke, off the screens, pick and pops, pick and rolls. It's good to watch college basketball to see what (schools) do with their bigs and how they play.
What factors are you weighing most heavily in looking for a school?
The strength and conditioning program is a big factor, the school's education is a huge factor. It's the stuff that will help me in the future and how they help their bigs.
You've added some more offers in the last couple months. Did North Carolina offer?
Roy Williams came to a big hometown game versus Southwest Academy and afterward they offered me.
Did Roy Williams personally make the offer?
One of the assistant coaches called me, asking if I could come down for the game, and that's how that offer happened. … Basically an offer is just saying ‘We want you to go here and you have a scholarship if you want to take it.' That's basically what the assistant coach explained to me.
Do you remember what assistant coach that was?
I have no clue.
That was the UNC-Duke regular season finale that you were going to attend, but you weren't able to make it down for that game …
We had a big regional (game in the state playoffs) so I couldn't make it.
Did you watch it on TV instead?
Yes. I thought both teams played hard. They're both great programs, so when that game comes on you know it's going to be a hard fought game.
Do you still plan on taking a trip to N.C.?
Yeah, I'll definitely get down there.