What do you try to get out of an event like this?
I just try to get better, continue to work on my game, and do the best to help my team win. Winning is the most important thing to me, I just try to whatever I can to help my team.
Your team came up short at the end, but did you feel like you performed how you wanted?
I wish I had played a little bit better, made some better decisions down the stretch. I feel like, as a whole, it was a good game, great event, and I really enjoyed it this weekend.
When you’re at your best, what do you bring to the game?
I shoot the ball well, I make free throws – I didn’t at the end there and that frustrated me. I rebound the ball extremely well and I make smart decisions, which wasn’t really what happened at the end out there but I’ll get better at it for sure.
You’ve completed your first semester – a summer semester – in Chapel Hill. What’s that experience been like for you?
It’s been great, I love it up there. Been working hard in the weight room and on the court with the guys. It’s just been great, coaches have been fantastic, and I’m looking forward to the season.
How about the pickup games?
They’ve been good. I’ve gotten better. I’ve guarded Justin Jackson, Brice Johnson, Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy (Meeks) – all of them. It’s been great to learn from them and get my feet wet in college basketball.
Did the first pickup games when you arrived provide any sort of wake up call, when you found yourself guy someone like Tyler Hansbrough or other NBA bigs?
I just always step to the game with the same approach and I continue to work on what I do best. I play my game and everything’s working out well.
How were the team practices this summer for you? There were four, right?
We’ve had three – I was supposed to have one today but I came to this. So we’ve had four, technically. They’ve been great. It’s good to get into the flow, and I just can’t wait until the fall starts. … The (returning guys) know what’s going on and I’m just trying to learn from them and play off them and continue to get better everyday.
What did the UNC coaches think about you missing that fourth practice for this game?
I told Coach (Roy) Williams about two months ago and he said it was fine. I reminded him a few weeks ago and he was very energetic about it and wanted me to play in it.
What parts of your game were you focused on improving this summer?
Just trying to get stronger, playing against the four biggest guys that I’ve played against in a while – try to learn from them, learn to get my shot off, my moves going to the basket. And continue learning from the coaching staff – they’ve been great so far.
What have the coaches highlighted about your game?
They like the way I shoot the ball at the top of the key on the trail, and when I post up my ability to pass out of the post is very good, and my half hook has been good – I just didn’t really shoot it tonight and got out of my game at the end…
What’s it like joining this team that has national championship aspirations?
It’s going to be great, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and improve.
Can you tell those aspirations by being around the team this summer?
We go into every practice and every pickup game with the same mentality – we’re there every day to get better and have fun…
Since you only get limited contact with the coaching staff during the summer, who on the team have you looked to help you learn the ropes?
I’m rooming with Justin Jackson. A lot of the guys are nice and have helped me out with rides. Me and Kenny, being the two freshmen, rely on them a lot.
What did the coaches outline that they wanted you to accomplish this summer?
I need to get stronger, being able to play the three and four at the next level is going to be a transition. Get stronger, continue to work on my ball handling and shooting and everything will be fine.
When UNC announced that you officially signed your Letter of Intent back in May, Coach Williams called it “one of the most pleasant recruiting experiences I have ever gone through.” How was that experience for you?
He’s just been great. He had a tough time going through the process with the NCAA and everything. Just for him to be so trustworthy and great to my family and myself – it was really cool the way he handled everything and helped me be more sure about my decision.
Does the team ever talk about the NCAA process or potential outcome, or is that off the players’ radars?
It hasn’t come up as of late. I’m not sure we want to bring it up. Everything is on a downslope.