Alex Stepheson Q&A (w/audio)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Alex Stepheson knows his limited minutes are over. After Brandan Wright announced Thursday that he'd be entering the NBA Draft, Stepheson spoke of the impact Wright's decision would have on his role and the team's outlook ...

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Do you feel like a roadblock to playing time has been removed for you?

"I wouldn't say a roadblock, just a door of opportunity opening up and I'm going to try and take advantage of the opportunity."

What are you going to work on improving this summer?

"Offensive moves, definitely improving on my rebounding and shotblocking more, defense and just to try and improve on my all around game."

How much more pressure does this put on you and Deon [Thompson]?

"Definitely a little bit of pressure since [Brandan] provided so much for the team. We'll need to step into that role and do what he did. I'm confident, Deon's confident, Mike [Copeland]'s confident, Coach is confident - to be able to try and do what Brandan did for the team. I'm just going to work hard this summer."

It does help, though, to have Tyler [Hansbrough] back in the post ...

"Tyler being there takes a little bit of the pressure of me, Deon and Mike as well. It's an opportunity for us, but I'm glad Tyler's back, too, because he's experienced down low."

Do you think the ACC knows what you bring to the table?

"I feel like it'll be something new coming at them. I didn't get as much playing time this year as I will next year. I'm going to work on my game a lot and it'll be something new coming to the ACC."

How much did Brandan share about his decision-making process?

"Not that much. He's real laid back and he kept to himself about this. But every now and then he'd bring it up and I was there to talk to him about it."

Did you get frustrated at all last season with the playing time?

"I wasn't frustrated, I knew my opportunity was going to would come. I was just exciting to be winning and to be on a great team. I was just looking forward to whenever my number was called to be ready to come in there and produce."

Do you feel like with what you have coming back, that you all can be one of the top teams in the ACC and nationally?

"Definitely. Everybody's going to work hard this summer - there are a whole lot of good teams out there and we should be one of them."

You were planning to work hard this summer, but does this opportunity make you accelerate your plans to work harder?

"I'm going to work hard regardless. It puts more motivation on the table for me, but I'm going to still just work as hard as I can this summer and keep that motivation in my mind to stay hungry."

Will you stay here for the summer?

"For the most part I'll be here. I'm going to do the first session of summer school and then go home and work out a lot there, too."

What about your game did the fans not get a chance to see in your first year here?

"I'd say the offensive side of my game that I've been working on a lot wasn't able to be shown this past season. Just the little things that my not be able to be seen on the court, like running the floor and the intangibles that not many people will notice."

You were a very good shotblocker in high school. Do you think you can supply the shotblocking that Brandan did for this team?

"I think so. It was a different defensive system that I had to get used to. I feel like I've learned the system pretty well and I'll be able to go in there and do what I did in high school."

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