I worked on everything. I think I got stronger and quicker. I'm up to 191 [pounds]. I wanted to get to around 195. I've been working on getting stronger and on relaxing.
That seemed like an issue with you last year. We talked a few months ago about how you need to just go out and play like you would in a pick-up game, as opposed to thinking too much. How do you feel like that aspect of your game is coming?
I think it's coming along. As I get older you'll see more and more patience and, I'll be more relaxed, but that is with anybody as they get more experience.
It looked as though last year there were times that you were simply trying too hard. Do you think that's accurate?
I think there were times when I was trying too hard, and I was impatient. I rushed things.
Looking back on last year -
I really didn't think about it, to tell you the truth. After the last Duke game I really put it behind me and am looking forward to this season to start.
Postseason fallout -
I was glad to be here, but there were some things that everyone needed to get off their chest – and I think it helped a lot.
What if there's another tough start?
I hope we don't start off like that again. Our plan is to start off well. I really don't know what will happen if we don't.
Seeing friends back home this summer -
They had a couple jokes. Most people were excited to see me. But I just smiled at ‘em and told them to wait until next season.
Spending the summer with the freshmen -
It brought us closer together. Everybody got to know each other's game and personalities.
Team mentality -
It's all about going out there and playing hard – who wants it more.
Lessons learned last season to apply to this year -
Just to go out there and work hard. Give it your all because you only have so many years to play, so I'm just working hard and doing my best. I think with that year under my belt, I think I am ready.
There will be six guys in a similar situation to what you went through last year. They will be expected to carry a lot of the load the way you three sophomores were last year. How do you help them learn from your experience before they go through the same thing?
I have to let them know to let it come to them. They don't have to force it or rush. It will come, but you have to play hard.
What is your role on this team, this year?
My role with the other four [non-freshmen] is to be a leader.
You know Matt isn't afraid to play freshmen significant minutes. Last year, you were the freshman splitting time with upperclassmen. This year you will be splitting time with guys who are younger. Does that feel different?
As long as we get the "W," that is all that matters. It doesn't matter who I'm splitting time with.
What have you seen from Raymond Felton that impresses you?
I think he can do it. It might take some time, but after a while, he'll be fine.
Rashad has openly said, "I want to be a leader on this team." Can he be a vocal leader as a freshman?
Anybody on this team can be a vocal leader. It doesn't matter who the leader is, as long as everybody is on the same page.
You have experience that he doesn't have. What if he says something to you? Will what he says carry weight with you?
Yeah. If he tells me something, and I think, "Yeah, I should have done that," and we are on the same page, sure.
What does Rashad bring to the team?
A lot. He's a physical guy who can pass, shoot, handle the ball, and then he can post up. He can mix it up with guys underneath.
Rashad is pretty outspoken and gregarious. It seems like he might be the lightning rod for opposing fans – the guy that non-Carolina fans love to hate. Could you see him in that role, and do you think he can handle that?
I think he can. I can see Rashad in that role.
Do you think he likes that? It seems that way to me.
I think he does like that role. It makes his game go to another level. He likes to be challenged so he can show people what he can do.
Are people going to be surprised by David Noel?
They are. His athletic ability, the guy can jump out the gym. I think people are going to be very surprised, but I think people are going to be surprised about everybody – about the whole team.
Excited to get the season started Friday night?
I am. I can't wait.