I haven't been in this situation before, so I wouldn't be able to tell you. But from what I've learned, you've just got to kind of take it in stride and hopefully we can play up to our abilities and do the things that we're supposed to do.
Is it realistic that you guys will pick up where you left off last year in terms of chemistry, roles and the way things were rolling the last month of the season?
I think so. Even playing with the guys the last couple of days, we really started to come together in our own as a team. Even the freshmen are getting into it. I think it's going to be a great year teamwise.
Was there a light-switch moment last year that everything started to click? Was there a point in the season when you could feel that everything was starting to come together?
I hate to say it, but when Larry [Drew] left, I think as a team, we finally were like, ‘You know what? Everybody is here who wants to be here. We can start getting things on track.' That's what happened. After that game, after that week, we kind of pulled together, and it made us into more of a unit. We started playing well.
Does it bother you at all that Drew is still talking about how unhappy he was at UNC?
It doesn't bother me. I love this place. I guess he didn't have the view that I have and things of that nature. But I love this place and love this school, and I wouldn't change anything for the world. It's unfortunate that he didn't have the experience that I've had, but I wish him the best.
You made major leaps last year, especially defensively. Are you looking to maybe make that kind of leap offensively this year? If so, what kind of things are you doing?
Yeah, it's always good to contribute on offense. I think by me improving my offensive skills, that will make us that much more of a dynamic team. I've just been working on face-up jump shot and just being more consistent in all aspects of my game. I think just being more consistent in my form and things of that nature is going to help me a lot.
Many people looked at you as a one-and-done guy originally. When you finished your freshman year, how did you assess where you were? Were you frustrated at all?
I don't think I was frustrated. I finished the year out strong, and everybody goes through a little bit of adversity. That's exactly what happened to me. I think it worked out for the best because now I'm here and getting better. If I wouldn't have had the year I had my freshman year, things might have been different. So it all worked out for the best.
Was there ever any doubt in your mind at all that you guys would come back to school and that everybody would be back this year?
There wasn't. You know, at times, Mr. Barnes scared me. But he made a great decision.
Was there any discussion among you?
Me, Harrison and Zeller met one night. I don't remember when, but we all met one night at about 10 o'clock and sat around and talked. That's the night me and Z made our decision. Harrison told us he'd think about his, and I think the decision we made influenced him a little bit.
Where did you guys meet?
We were at Tyler's house.
Does the jump you made from Year 1 to Year to give you encouragement that you can make a similar jump this year?
Yeah. You always want to improve, and you're always under that pressure to improve at an institution like this. So I think along with the pressure and the want-to, we're going to be fine.
How weird will the first game of the year be, knowing that that's the ship where Osama bin Laden's body was?
That's going to be kind of weird. It's a big-time game as well, so of course, I want to win. But I think being a part of history like that is why you come to a school like this. They picked us to be there, and I think it's a great honor.
As the defensive player you are, you should feel right at home there.
Yeah, me and the ship have something in common. We like to defend our area. I defend the paint, and it defends the country. Hopefully I can do that next year as well.