Tell us about that face-up J that we saw tonight.
"I palmed the ball, and that's why I shot it too hard—that air ball. The other two I hit. That's in my comfort zone. I've been practicing that a whole lot. I've been practicing that more than the hook because everyone knows I have the hook. I'm trying to emphasize the jumper."
We saw the face-up jumper at App. State last year, but it disappeared.
"It won't disappear this year. We need that this year. We have a team that can shoot the ball very well outside, so we have to utilize that. It's the way the college game is changing now. It's what everyone is doing."
What have you seen from this team that impresses you?
"How they keep working hard every day in practice. You figure that you'd have a few intense pracices and then it would get down—relaxed, kind of. Everyone talks [on the court]. They didn't talk tonight because they may have been nervous in front of the people, but they talk and have fun. That's a big thing—we actually have fun in practice and we work real hard. I admit, I used to not really dive on the floor, but I've got a couple of strawberries right now (pointing to hip), and it's fun."
What have you seen from the freshmen? Tonight they did some good things and some "freshmen" things.
"You see a lot of potential. They're very athletic and they're very active. All three of them are very active, and they aren't timid. Jackie, especially on the defensive end, is not timid at all, and none of them are scared to shoot the ball, as you could see tonight. They are not scared to jack it up—which is good. They have a lot of confidence, and that is big for them because we are going to rely on them a lot this year. As long as they keep their confidence, we'll be OK."
Can you talk a little more about Jackie defensively and his quickness.
"He's so long, and his feet are so active. He just bounces around from place to place, and he doesn't get tired of doing it. He loves it and takes it as his passion. And I' got a freakin' busted lip because of him coming in on the help when they throw me the ball inside. He's just phenomenally quick—and he's so long."
Was there an adjustment period in going against a guy as tall as Neil?
"Actually, there was. It's one thing to jump as high as you can and you only see someone's hand to shoot over, but when you jump as high as you can and you still see his face right there at you, it's kind of scary.
"Neil's benefitting me a lot. That's getting me ready for The League, and you see how big these guys are. He's a big help to me, just like I'm a big help to him."
Are you surprised that he got up and down the court. He seemed to do fine?
"I think his adrenaline kicked in and had the fans behind him. They love the big Brit. That's the big Brit, baby, and he's enjoying it."