TOC: J.P. Tokoto Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- J.P. Tokoto talked about his improving game and the state of his recruitment Friday night at the Tournament of Champions ...

You're a three at the next level, but so much of your team's offense runs through you …

Since last year I've improved on my ball handling and shooting. Coach is giving me responsibilities of taking over the team when it's time – getting everyone together and focused. We were down in the first half and he came to me and told me to get my team together so we could pull it out. I've got great teammates so it's pretty easy for me.

You mentioned improving your ballhandling - I can tell that your ballhandling has improved, even since I saw you two months ago. Has that been a big focus for you in workouts?

Yeah, it's been a focus. Me and my dad go to the gym a lot and do ballhandling drills and shooting drills. It's been reflected in the games.

How do you notice your ballhandling getting better in games?

I get by guys faster. Last year I'd lose the ball, I was a loose dribbler, it wasn't tight and I wasn't keeping it in. Now it's by my side where I want it and I can blow past defenders.

Can you talk about your ability to finish? Is that something that has always been a part of your game, the way you can maneuver through a crowd?

Yeah, that's a good part of my game, getting to the rim and finishing. That's one of my biggest strengths. But since my coach has put me at the three I've been extending my shooting range and working on ball handling.

Can you talk about where you're at with the recruiting process right now?

We've heard from new schools like Florida, UCLA, Texas, Stanford. It's nothing new, really, just everybody showing interest.

Where do you stand with the team whose building [UNC's Smith Center] you're standing in right now?

I like it here, it's nice – very big. It's not my first time here so I'm a little used to seeing it.

When you first walked in here (last year), what did you think?

I was thinking ‘wow.' I'd seen it on TV but I never thought it would be this big. You look up and it looks miles high. Looking around, seeing the banners and retired jerseys, it's awesome to see. It shows the history of the building and the program.

Do you see yourself fitting the North Carolina system?

I do, any type of up tempo. I believe I can play in any system, it's just adapting, but I can see myself playing at North Carolina.

Where do you stand with Duke?

I'm not playing any favorites because it's so early in the process, but I like Duke a lot also.

You'll get another brief look at both UNC and Duke while you're in town for this tournament. Can you give a brief synopsis of what your feelings are with both schools?

Like I said, I'm not showing any favoritism because it's so early in the process. I'm not making a decision until next year after the summer. But I really like the schools and I like the way they play. Duke's coming off a great year, winning the championship, which is awesome. I believe North Carolina will make a run at it this year too because they're bringing some guys and will have some experience now. I like both schools a lot.

Is it true you grew up a Carolina fan?

Yeah, my auntie lives in North Carolina (in Durham) and has lived here for a while. Even before I was a good basketball player she would always say: "J, you've got to get better, keep working on your skills, so you can come to Carolina and I can watch you play." She's been saying that ever since.

What conversations have you had recently with Roy Williams?

I went to the Duke-North Carolina game – that was pretty special, I loved that – so I got to talk to him then. We call him over the phone and my dad and him talk.

What do your parents think about him?

My mom absolutely loves him - she talks about him all the time. As I said, my aunt is a big North Carolina fan, so that says it all. My dad doesn't show favoritism but he's pretty cool with all the coaches.

So your timeframe for a decision is still more than a year away?

My dad, my mom and I talked and we're going to make a decision by the end of next summer.

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