Raymond Felton Q&A

CHARLOTTE, NC -- On his way to the Dell Curry Foundation High School Basketball Shootout Championship, MVP honors, and the Billy Packer Sportsmanship Award, over three days Raymond Felton and his mother, Barbara Felton, answered lots of questions -- some of them from the <i>Inside Carolina</i> readers.

Raymond Felton

How do you think that you will fit in on UNC's team next year?

"I want to go there to try to be a leader to help the guys win. I want to go there and just be a role player. I'm not going there to try to be 'the man,' – to be the man who shoot all the shots. I'm not going there for that reason. I'm going there to play hard, play my game, play a good point guard position, get some open shots for my teammates, make some good drives.

What do you see as the role of the point guard?

"Just to make things happen for my teammates. If the shot is there for me, to take it. Just to win, to try to be a leader on the court, to be a general. That's it."

You have to do a lot for your high school basketball team, but next year you won't have to carry that much of a burden. Have you thought about that?

"It doesn't matter. When I go to camps, there are some of the best players in the nation playing with me. I just play how I have to play. I come out and play the point – shoot when I have to, drive when I have to. If I have to pass the ball the whole game, and if I don't score any more than 10 points, it doesn't matter to me. As long as we win, that's all that matters."

During your recruitment, did you ever consider going to South Carolina?

"I considered it. My best friend was going there. It's an in-state school. I was considering it, but, in my mind, the whole time, I still had 'North Carolina.' It wasn't really that I was changing my mind. I was weighing all my options. I had to figure out what was best for me, and what was best for me was to go with my heart. That's what I did."

What about the rumors that you might still attend South Carolina after you announced your intentions to attend UNC? Did you ever reconsider?

"I never reconsidered. I took some visits – that's really all I did. It was nothing serious."

Have you gotten any grief from anyone locally because you didn't go to the University of South Carolina?

"They just tell me that they wish me the best of luck. They may have grief in their mind, but they don't show it. They still treat me the same."

Some of the UNC fans want to give you a nickname. Two of them are 'Sugar Ray,' and Raymond 'The Truth' Felton. Which do you prefer?

(Looking a little embarrassed) "It doesn't really matter."

How are you doing in school?

"My grades are fine. I'm good to go. Once I graduate, I'm set to go. I've got my scores in, my gpa is where it should be (3.2), and I'm ready to go."

Who is your favorite point guard opponent?

"There's so many of them. I really can't name just one. I've played against so many spectacular point guards that I can't name just one."

Is there another point guard that causes you to elevate the level of your play?

"I play with that same intensity every game – that same intensity."

Do you ever talk to Rashad McCants and Sean May?

"Yes, I talk to them every now and then."

What do you talk about?

"Just about how we are ready to get there and things like that. We're glad that we committed there. We can't wait to get there to play together. We're already starting to become a family."

Is there any chance that you will enroll at UNC and take summer classes the way the freshmen did this year?

"That's what I'm planning to do."

Do you have any special UNC memories?

"Not really. I just see Michael Jordan highlights – him hitting the 3-point shots. I can look at that and it's amazing. Other than that, I just watch the games."

Do you pattern your game after anyone?

"I just try to be my self. I don't try to pattern my game after anyone. I'm trying to make my own name."

Who are you looking forward to playing with at UNC the most?

"All of them. I can't point one guy out. I want to play with all of my teammates."

Who was your favorite UNC point guard?

"Ed Cota – that's the only one I really remember. I've heard about Phil Ford and Kenny Smith. There are so many great point guards that came through there, but the only one I really remember is Ed Cota."

Does seeing North Carolina struggle make you anxious to get there?

"Yes, sir. I'm ready to get there. I'm tired of all the talk about 'North Carolina is going down,' and this and that. But it's O.K. We'll come back strong next year. Hopefully, they'll come back strong before the end of the season."

Do you ever find yourself saying "If I were in that situation, I would do 'X'"?

"Not really. Just sometimes I get a little upset at the plays they make and say that they shouldn't have done that, but I don't know how it is when you get out there. Some of the freshmen are struggling because they are freshmen. I might do the same thing when I get there, so I really can't say."

The NBA will be a possibility throughout your college career, but haven't you said that you will play it year by year and that you could conceivably leave after one year?

"Yes, I'm going to just play during the season and do the best I can. If the opportunity comes – the best opportunity for me to leave – then I will leave. I will talk it over with Coach Doherty and my parents and other people. If it's the best thing for me to do, hey, I'll do it."

Do you remember me telling you at the McDonald's All-American game that your anonymity was about to end? How much has that changed?

"Tremendously. Everywhere I go, people know me. It makes me feel good, but I think about it and it's just another thing. I can't get a big head. I've still got so many other things to do in life."

Does it feel strange to go places and have people know who you are?

"It felt strange at first, but now it's just a regular thing."

Do you ever read the InsideCarolina.com message boards?

"Every now and then. I don't read it all the time, but I read it every now and then."

Barbara Felton

Raymond seems like a great kid. Has he always been so humble?

"Yes, he has. Very much so."

Latta is a small town. Do you think that contributes to his humble demeanor?

"Sure. He has a lot of community support – teachers and everyone. Everybody loves Raymond. Everybody loves him."

When did you get an idea that he may be good enough to get a scholarship to a Div. I school?

"He has a good work ethic. I told him 'Work at what you want. Follow your dreams. Put God first, and anything you do we support you.'"

What was his recruitment like?

"A lot of phone calls, letters, and visits."

At one point he considered South Carolina, but after he committed to North Carolina, there were rumors that he was going to attend USC. Was that frustrating?

"Not really. We visited different schools, and we wanted him to make sure that North Carolina is exactly what he wanted. We told him to visit different schools and to see if that's what he really wanted."

Has he had any second thoughts since he made the decision?

"No, never."

When did he first start showing interest in UNC?

"Every since he was a little boy. It's always been his dream to play there."

Did he play basketball in the drive way when he was small?

"All the time – in the house and everywhere."

Did he ever pretend to be any famous basketball players?

"Michael Jordan. Everybody wants to be like Mike."

Carolina fans are used to winning, and this year has been frustrating for them. They see what Raymond is doing, and they are expecting a lot from him. He's going to be a freshman. He may have a good year, but he will make mistakes. Do you feel like there is a lot of pressure on him, and do you think that's unfair?

"Not necessarily, because he's been in pressure situations. No, I don't think so."

Do you think he looks forward to the pressure? Does he thrive on that?

"Of course. Greatly. Yes, greatly."

What do you think about the UNC coaching staff? Matt Doherty is really intense and he's going to push Raymond.

"Of course. He needs that. He needs that. He needs a push, and he needs that drive. He excels at that – that drive and that push. It will work well."

Some of the players that were recruited by Bill Guthridge felt a little shock to their systems when Matt Doherty came in with all of his intensity. He pushes them and sometimes yells at them. Do you think Raymond will respond well to that?

"Of course. He has AAU coaches [pushing him]. Whatever it takes to make him do the job."

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