Leadership Call with James Southerland

The senior forward will be asked to step forward this season with no one in front of him. As he eyes a leadership role, he shares what he has learned from others.

Syracuse Orange men's basketball forward James Southerland is entering his final season with the team. His entire career, he has not had to be the starter, to be the first threat.

That changes now.

With his new role of being a leader, Southerland has looked to many different resources to help teach him how to be successful in that position. One of those resources was the man he has played behind at Syracuse, Kris Joseph. "He showed me how to be an impact player," said Southerland. "Kris Joseph had great stats all around. When the game was on the line, he did what he needed to do to make sure our team got the win."

"That's what I learned from him and also Scoop [Jardine]," continued Southerland. "When the game was on the line, they did what they needed to do no matter how good or how bad they played."

On top of what he gained from Joseph and Jardine, Southerland has also looked to the Orange coaching staff to aid him in moving in the right direction. When asked which coaches have helped him most, Southerland responded, "Oh definitely Coach [Adrian] Autry, for sure, and also Coach Lazarus Sims who's currently at Binghamton, assistant coach at Binghamton. Those guys definitely helped me. They still help me today. We have good conversations, and we just talk, and just make sure that I do what I need to do. And also make sure I'm staying focused."

But, if given the choice, there is one person Southerland will go to before anyone else. "I definitely call my father first ‘cause he's been there for me the whole way," shared Southerland. "I know he's watching the game…He just knows like what do I need to do to have a better game next game."

Southerland's father began aiding him early and continues today. "He did a very great job of developing me as a basketball player but also now I feel like it's more of a mentality," stated Southerland. "He's also developed me to be mature, just growing up. He developed me to be a great basketball player and an athlete, and now it's all about the mental part."

With former teammates, current and former coaches, and his father, Southerland has put together a support system he believes will help him to be the player he needs to be in his final go-around with the Orange.

His opportunity to display what he has learned and what type of leader he will be starts on Sunday, November 11th, in the "Battle on the Midway", where Syracuse will take on San Diego State atop the USS Midway to usher in the 2012-13 season.

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