Jason Horton Interview, Part II

CEDAR HILL, TEXAS -- <i>Inside Carolina</i>'s David Thompson traveled to Cedar Hill High School to attend the workout of point guard Jason Horton, a 2004 Carolina target. In the second installment of a week-long spotlight, Horton discusses last season and talks about his game.

Inside Carolina: What was the highlight of last year's season for you with Cedar Hill High School?

Jason Horton: The Lincoln game and The Colony game, that was two of the most exciting games that we played in. It was a great experience, a real great experience.

IC: What do you feel like was your best game last year?

Horton: I don't know. I had a few great games. I don't really know.

IC: Were you injured at all last year?

Horton: Yes, I have shin splints so I'm not injured but it tweeks every now and then. They're pretty good now. I keep ice on them so it's kind of every now and then.

IC: At the beginning of the year, you were sharing the point guard position and then at the end of the year it was all yours. You won the position and your brother, Daniel, was on the wing. How was it playing with him?

Horton: Last year, Coach [Milson] didn't want to "give" me the spot automatically. He wanted to make me work for it, which is good for me. It made me work harder. It was good for me. It was good for me even though I was frustrated at first. It was real good for me in a lot of ways. As far as playing with my brother [Daniel, point guard, Michigan], I love playing with my brother. I mean, we've been playing together since we were young so we know each other's games, like the back of my hand, so it was real good and real fun.

IC: Last year it seemed you were more interested in setting up your teammates than in your own shot. A lot of that is dictated by team strategy. Talk about your tendency to play the pure point as opposed to being a scoring point guard.

Horton: I just try to get my other teammates involved. Last year we had some great players. I didn't have to do much [scoring]. If I penetrated, I kicked and they'd hit the open jumper, so I didn' have to take that many shots. But I think that this coming year I'm going to have to take a little bit more shots.

IC: Are you comfortable in the role of scoring point guard?

Horton: Yes, I've very comfortable in it. I can score. A lot of people didn't see it this past year. They'll get to see it this coming year.

IC: What are the kinds of things that you bring to a basketball team, in addition to basketball?

Horton: I think I bring a little intensity. Hard work. Just to pick my teammates up, you need someone who's going to say "Come on! Let's go!"

IC: If I'm seeing you for the first time, what am I going to notice first about your play?

Horton: Floor leadership. Telling everybody where to be on the floor. Talking to my teammates. Getting everybody on the same page.

IC: When it's game time, how do you show leadership on the court, verbally or with actions?

Horton: I do a little bit of both. I talk to them because your players need you to talk to them and give them a little confidence. Sometimes you have to lead by example.

IC: What do you think your greatest strength is as a basketball player?

Horton: The knowledge of the game, knowing the game, because I grew up around it. I know, pretty much, a lot about the game. There's still a lot to learn though.

IC: What are some of the things you need to work on right now?

Horton: Shooting. Working on shooting more and my decision-making, some decision-making, too.

IC: What is your shooting range?

Horton: 3-point in. Anywhere around 3-point area and in, I'm going to have a green light for that.

IC: Do you consider yourself a spot-up shooter or a penetrating, slashing player or is there any one style that describes you best.

Horton: I can do both. I do a little bit of both.

IC: What is your mind-set, come game time?

Horton: Defense. The team that plays the best defense is basically the team that's going to win the game. I play hard. I try my best to work hard on defense. That's the most important aspect of the game—defense.

IC: Who's the most difficult player that you faced last year?

Horton: Probably Deron Williams [The Colony].

IC: …and this coming summer?

Horton: Probably Sebastian Telfair.

IC: Whenever you face off with tough competition, how do you handle it?

Horton: I don't get real hyped up. I mean, I play against my brother [Daniel Horton] everyday so it's not that big of a deal.

IC: One-on-one with Daniel. Tell me what that's like.

Horton: It's kind of hard. I mean, he's real good. He overpowers me sometimes. It's good for me. I love playing one-on-one. Sometimes we get into fights though [grinning].

IC: Can you take him?

Horton: Yes, I think I can take him. [very big grin]

IC: One-on-one, against your Dad. Tell me what the game is like.

Horton: [laughing] I'll win, of course. He's old. His body doesn't work like it used to. [still laughing]

IC: What impact has your dad had in your development as a player?

Horton: He has taught me hard work. You have to push yourself even when you feel you can't go any more. Just always work harder than everybody else and that will put you over the top.

IC: What style of play do you feel like best suits your skills and your game?

Horton: Well, I like up-tempo, push the ball up the floor every time you get it. And pick up full-court man, "d" up, I like that kind of up-tempo play.

IC: What's your free throw percentage like?

Horton: I don't know. I think this past year, at the beginning of the year it wasn't too good. But at the second half of the season I shot around 80%.

IC: Where do most of your points seem to come from?

Horton: Attacking the basket, pulling up medium range. Just hitting open shots.

IC: Is there anybody you pattern your game after?

Horton: I like Jason Kidd's game a lot. Especially now.

IC: What are your goals for this season?

Horton: Work hard, try to raise the play of my team, try to lead us to a state championship.

IC: What is your present height and weight?

Horton: 6-1. About 168 – 170.

IC: What's your workout like this summer?

Horton: Coach Milson has me on a weight program so I lift like that. I lift hard, trying to get stronger every time I go in the weight room. My Dad works me out on my jumpers, working on pulling up, spot shooting, medium-range…

IC: You ran a 5:07 mile according to something I saw in the gym. Tell me about that.

Horton: That's the best time as a freshman. I ran it last year—I think it was a 5:06 or something like that.

IC: Are you still growing?

Horton: Yes, I'm still growing. I'm still having knee pains. I don't know right now. I'm guessing and I'm hoping I'm going to be around 6-3 ½, 6-4.

IC: Have you ever been seriously injured?

Horton: No, I've never been seriously injured.

IC: How much do you bench press?

Horton: I bench press 210.

IC: What's your vertical?

Horton: I was measured last year. It was around 28 inches last year, my freshman year.

IC: Tell me about some of your hobbies.

Horton: I love to hang out with my brother, go places with my brother and talk to my family. Visit with my family.

IC: Who are your favorite players to watch on the college level?

Horton: TJ Ford, Jason Gardner, Jason Williams… All the great point guards.

Inside Carolina Top Stories