It looks like you've been spending time in the weight room.
"Yeah! I just lifted a lot this summer. Coach McKinney really helped us out a lot. He had a lifting a lot. It's something that I've really started taking seriously. It's really important for me this year and for my future too. If you get bigger, you get stronger. It's something I take seriously, and I like the way I look now. It's kinda good."
It looked like Jawad had flashes out there. Does he just need to do that more?
"Jawad is going to be a really special player. He's just got to learn how to play at a high level consistently the whole game. As you saw, he's very capable of doing a lot of great things—offensively, defensively, everything. He's going to be a great player for us this year and in the future."
What have you seen from this group that you really like, and what do you have to work on?
"What we need to work on is just experience. We have a lot of guys who are going to play minutes that haven't played before. Other than that, we've got a lot more athleticism, we're a lot quicker, and we have a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things—a lot of interchangeable parts. We're going to be a good team, and we're excited. We have a lot of guys that can play. And everybody likes each other. Everybody gets along, and we have great chemistry, and we're having fun—hoping to get better every day."
What do you have to do to the young guys, knowing that you're going to need help from them?
"Just bring them along. You can't baby them, but you can't be too hard on them either. I think all of them are very eager to learn. They ask a lot of questions, and they absorb everything. They are three great, and they are going to be very good ball players, as you saw tonight. They're learning and coming along very quickly, and we're going to need them to do that to have a good year."
You seem really excited about Jackie.
"Jackie is so fast. As you saw out there, between him and Brian Morrison, I don't know if anybody can keep them in front of them. He gets to the basket. I've just got to teach him to calm down a little bit. When he sees some people in the stands, he gets a little out of control, but he's very athletic, very fast, and he attacks the basket. That's something that people have been waiting to see again in Carolina Basketball, and I think they are going to see it with Jackie and Jawad."
What did you see out there that you didn't expect to see?
"Nothing, really. I think the biggest plus was the way big Neil played. I think we all knew what everybody could do, but to see Neil out there playing the minutes he played, getting up and down the floor and contributing the way he did—offensively, defensively, and changing shots and being a presence out there—was really a surprise to everybody that he could go as long as he did and play the way he did."