Preston Shumpert Chat Transcript

Preston Shumpert says he's ready to step even further into the limelight. But that's not all he has to say. Find out everything you need to know about Shumpert in this exclusive, 45-minute interview.

PRESTON SHUMPERT CHAT TRANSCRIPT

On how many interviews he does:

"Shhh. I did a lot down at Big East Media Day. It's not too bad, I like doing interviews. I like being on camera, so it's alright. I like to act up a little bit."

On if that bothers him:

"I'm just a laid-back type of dude, typical Florida guy. Laid-back, take-it-easy type guy, that's all."

On the hustle and bustle of New York:

"This is not like the City, but it's close enough to the city where it's real busy. I know it's busier than anywhere I've ever been. I mean, the City's ridiculous. I couldn't live there. It would take a miracle for me to live there. It's just too busy for me."

On if anything bothers him:

"Not really. It's got to be something, really, really to … you know what? Two things really, really bother me off the top of my head that I can think of. People putting their feet on the couch with the shoes on and people that sneeze and don't cover their mouth. That's two things that really bother me."

On if his roommate, Greg Davis does that:

"I do have to clean up after him sometimes, like behind the bathroom door or stuff like that. But that's not too bad."

On if anything bothers him:

"Not too much. I don't really get aggravated too much. It takes a lot for me to get aggravated. I'm pretty much laid-back. I've really got to be pushed to explode or something like that. On the floor, nothing really bothers me. I mean the crowd, people yelling obscenities, anything like that doesn't really bother me because I know I'm probably going to have the last laugh."

On what he did last summer:

"I'm trying to finish up school. I just did a lot of lifting, working on different facets of my game. Shooting comes pretty easy for me, I can shoot pretty well, but there are other aspects of my game – trying to put it on the floor, create, try to draw some fouls, trying to do different things on the floor."

On if he thinks about SU's loss to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament:

"Not really. I don't really look back in the past. I take every day for what it's worth, practice for what it's worth. Everything is a learning experience. We lost, but everybody loses when you play something. I'm a good loser, even though I don't like to lose at all. I'm very competitive, I hate to lose, but it's something you've just got to expect to happen."

On Damone Brown and Allen Griffin:

"We had a great time last year, me and Damone and Allen. Those guys, we really got closer every year. We depended on each other a little more. We needed each other a little more. It did a little bit. I thought my chances, as far as playing in the NBA, were good. It's still getting better now. I made the right decision. I don't really look back as me making that decision was bad or anything like that. I made the decision, so I'm sticking to it. I don't have any regrets."

On getting ready for the NBA:

"Playing here at Syracuse at the three position is similar to playing the two. I'll probably play mostly two in the league. Just developing my game right now is what's important, not trying to shape it any aspect of the NBA or anything like that. I'm trying to be a complete player right now, work on my game right now."

On if he can create better than people give his credit for:

"I don't know if I can answer it. I'd have to say you can just ask my coaches and my teammates. They'll tell you what type of player I am. I'm not even worried about what other people are saying or what magazines are saying or anything like that. I don't really worry myself about that. If you start reading stuff like that, start sitting around with the papers, you sort of create added pressure that you don't really need."

On preseason magazines:

"I look at them, but I don't really take what's in them for anything. I take them for what they're worth. I don't really rely on that as that much confidence. It gives me a little bit of confidence but it's not going to determine whether I bring it every night or what I'm going to do this year. I still have goals in mind. I plan to go about it."

On if he cares about them:

"A little bit, as far as personal recognition. People like personal recognition. Everyone says it, but I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't want Naismith player of the year or any recognition like that. I'd appreciate that. What's more important to me is if I have a good year, I'm consistent, I feel that I've gotten everything out of myself that I needed to."

On not being a top recruit coming in:

"I knew what level I could play at. I believe now that I can play at the next level. It was all within myself. The type of player I am, confidence plays a lot in my game. My confidence is high no matter if I miss 10 threes in a row, I still feel like I'm going to knock down the next 10. That's what makes my game and my personality so tough."

On an increased leadership role this season:

"I don't plan to go too much out of my character. Last year, I just tried to lead by example on the floor. This year, I'm definitely going to do that, but I feel like I need to get a little more vocal. The guys are starting to respect me a little more, starting to listen to what I say and take it for what it's worth. It's coming easier for me because it's happening. I see the guys starting to listen to me and ask me questions. I don't feel too bad if I have to scream at a few guys or anything like that."

On if he feels like the grandfather of the team:

"A little bit. I feel kind of old right now. I'm only 22 years old. I feel a little old. Just because coming into the season, I knew what to expect, day-in and day-out. I know what it takes to be successful on the floor."

On increased role every season:

"Just growing up, playing basketball, that was how it was as far as teams have played on. I've always showed development. In grade school, in middle school, I had to work my way up. I was sixth man then, then I worked up to be a starter, then I sort of took over that team. High school was the same way. I sort of played my role, then worked up to being one of the greatest players that attended my high school or played the game in my area. That's just something that goes to my effort, and I've just been working hard at it."

On his relationship with his mother:

"It's kind of a weird situation with me and her. I just grew up with mainly my sister and her. We have a different type of relationships. Me growing up, she was lenient on me. That's why I turned out the way I am today, so responsible. The way she taught me, I felt that I had to be an adult a little earlier in my life. She made me the man of the house at an early age. I had to carry myself like that. I feel like I'm so much more mature than 22-years-old. Growing up, all my friends were older than me. I didn't really see them as my peers, but as my equals."

  • sister 20, sister 27

On hanging out with his older sister:

"I used to hang out with my older sister and her friends a lot, just be around them, hang out with them and do stuff with them. I saw her as my equal even though she was older. I got along with them a lot easier than I did with younger people. But my sister, that was good for my younger sister because she looked up to me. The accomplishments I've made up to this point are good for her."

On taking the man of the house role at an early age:

"It was just basically sure that everything was fine between my mother and my sister, making sure my mother – she was working all the time – I had to make sure my sister was being taken care of. Just little things. Emotionally, going to school, every year we'd go to school for at least two years together, then I'd move on to like high school. Just a companion and a good friend for her."

  • once or twice every week

On how much he talks to her:

"I don't really talk to them as much as I used to as a freshman. My mother used to call me every single night. It continued for about two years. Then, she's sees I'm starting to grow up, I've become a man. She lets me do my thing. She's still wants to know what I'm doing, make sure everything's alright. I think she did a good job."

On how many games his mother sees:

"They see some of the games, maybe if they're on TV or something like that. Last year was really her first chance to get up and see some games. She enjoyed it. She might come up this year for a couple more games, but it's so far away. It's kind of difficult."

On if he was homesick at first:

"It was kind of weird. I never really got homesick. I felt that I made the decision to come to Syracuse, and I felt like I made a decision for myself, and I had to take care of it for myself. It wasn't really too different for me growing up."

On if local schools recruited him:

"A lot of Florida schools recruited me, but I wanted to sort of get away, too. I wanted to take the path less traveled. You know, get away from home a little bit, meet knew people. Just like any Florida person, I'm a friendly dude. A lot of people see me and think I'm mean since I'm the basketball player or I'm the man on the team. They think I'm rude or arrogant. But I'm not arrogant at all. I pretty much act the same to everybody, try to make everybody laugh and make everybody comfortable."

On his joking nature:

"Yeah, I think so. Whenever I get a chance I try to throw a joke in there, joke at Boeheim, get everybody laughing. Today, he was like saying that over on South Campus, you can't be having alcohol or stuff like that. You'll be kicked out for kegs. Even though, there's people on this team that are 21 years old and able to drink, you just can't have kegs. I basically told him, ‘Most of the time it's usually white guys with kegs.' They usually have kegs and tap and stuff like that. It's to make everybody laugh and get their minds off it a little bit, just try to be at ease a little bit."

On comedy in life:

"I just try to find comedy in something. I think life's … too strict. People are so worried about what they're doing this day and that day as far as work and their schedules and all that type of thing. As far as basketball, people will be pissed they've got to go to practice and focus. There's time where you need to focus, but you can have fun, too. It's just a game. That's the way I've treated it."

On if he surfs because it suits his nature:

"I never surfed. I only go about waist high in the ocean water. I mean, I can swim like a fish. But I don't mess with ocean water. I can't really bring myself to go in the water too deep because you can't see what's underneath you. I keep seeing things coming up and biting you, keeping you under. I stick with pools, man, jacuzzi's stuff like that."

On his hometown, Fort Walton Beach, Fla:

"It crazy. It's cool. It's laid-back. It's right on the water. It's small. But it's definitely relaxing. You can go to the beach anytime you want – at night, stuff like that. There's a lot of stuff to do. Here, on South Campus, you've got to go so far to go out to a restaurant or go somewhere. There, it's just like right around the corner. There's a little better access there."

On if he's a local celebrity:

"Yeah, I think so. They do a good of keeping up with news here, basketball stuff like that. They put everything in the paper. I'm a little bit of a local celebrity. But most people that know me, know me from high school, stuff like that, know what kind of person I am. It's pretty easy to go home. People don't really bother me too much. It's pretty laid-back."

On being the man on campus:

"It's nice. As far as playing basketball, people look up to you. They're like, ‘Wow. You're on TV.' Sometimes, it has its expectations. Sometimes it's hard to be me. You've got to watch what you're doing, what you say and tell people, where you're at, where you're seen at."

On how many high-fives he gives a day:

"Not really slap hands, but when I walk around, all I here is, ‘Shuuummp,' and stuff like that, ‘P-Money,' and stuff like that. It's cool. I usually respond to it, say hey to people and give autographs. I don't have a big problem with that. It's just something that comes with the territory."

On if he gets harassed when he goes out to eat:

"A few, especially when I go out to eat or something like that, I'm just out here locally. I usually sign a few autographs, but it's not too bad."

On being idolized:

"It has a little awe too it. It's cool. It just comes with the territory. I chose to come here and play basketball and work at what I do. It just so happens that I'm good at what I do,. basketball as a sport. People respect that and look up to you for that."

On if it every annoys him:

"Yeah, plenty of times. When times like that happen, I basically just go home and get everybody out of my house. I don't really go up to my room, but I'll just stay downstairs and sit there totally quiet. Maybe listen to music or play some video games. When times like that happen, I basically just want to be by myself. No phone, I don't want to answer the phone. I just sit there. It sort of feels good not to do anything, just sit there."

On being on the covers of magazines:

"It's cool. As far as recognition it's cool. Seeing yourself on the magazine, it's cool. It's sort of a shock to see yourself on there. I don't really know what to say to people when they say, ‘Did you see the magazine, you're on the front.' Usually, I don't even see them. People tell me about them. Then, I'll usually go buy them and send them to my mother. Where she lives at, it's harder for her to find it. But that's about it."

On what the clerks do when they recognize him:

"They'll take a double take. They don't really look at me, but they'll take a look down at the magazine, look up and notice and smile. I get a little weird looks."

On his affection for little kids:

"I like kids a lot. The biggest aspects for kids is someone to look up to. A lot of kids out there, like some of my best friends growing up, didn't have family. They basically lived on their own. They might have had somebody at the house, but it was their grandmother or something like that. They couldn't really keep up with them at a young age. They ended up dropping out of high school and getting into some illegal things. The biggest aspect of younger kids' lives is just older people to look up to."

On if they're scared of him:

"You know what, it's weird because babies and little kids, I think they'd be terrified or intimidated by me. But I have a class right now, over at Bernice Wright, with the toddlers, the youngest ones, they love me. They like me. Most of them use me as a jungle gym, they want to roughhouse, so they just jump on me. It's cool. I don't really mind it that much. They've got a lot of energy."

On if its nice that they don't know who he is:

"The kids look at me as just another person. That sort of feels good. Usually, the little kids come in, they don't even recognize me. But their parents, bring them over or something like that. I'll autograph a few basketballs for parents. It's kind of nice."

On his four tattoos:

"Straight-ballin', I got this in high school, first one. Cross, that's my mother's name, that's one love because she is basically the No. 1 person in my life. This is a Mr. Shumpert tattoo, this is sort of personal, I don't tell too many people about it. We'll leave it at that, it's personal. And I got this one, on my chest with my birthdate and it says, ‘God's Gift.' Not God's Gift to women, because I know some people are going to be out there thinking, ‘He's so arrogant. He's God's Gift.' I was just one of God's gifts, just like many people on this earth."

On his father:

"Not really. As far as the father, I grew up with just my mother and two sisters. My knowledge about women and womenly things are very up to date. That's about all I can say. I don't really want to get into it."

On if he still talks to him:

"Not really … not really."

More on his father:

"I think it helped me in the long run. I know a lot about women, so women can't put too much past me. Let's just say I'm in touch with my feminine side."

On if he'll have an entourage:

"Not really. For me, the type of person I am, I don't surround myself with people like that. I basically stick to teammates and close friends that I've met before I was really, really to the point where I am now. I have a good friend from Florida that moved up here at the end of last year, saw some games. He caught my Connecticut game where I hit the eight threes and broke the record in the Dome. He was there, the first game he came to. He's sort of like my good-luck charm. He hangs out with me a lot, we just kick it together, talk about other things than basketball. I get sort of fed up with people asking me, ‘So, what's the team looking like.' We talk about how I'm doing or how everything is going. He's there for that, to just bring me down to earth a little bit."

Continues:

"(laughs) Not really. I'll probably have a few people hanging out with me, by my side. I'll probably move my good friend from Florida. We have a life-long dream. It's worked out so far. We played on the same middle school team. We went to high school, played on the same team. I told him, once I go to college, I'd bring him up there to live with me. Then, move on to the league, make me some money, make sure he's taken care of, let him live with me. Just basically grow old together."

On where he'd like to play in the NBA:

"I'd prefer somewhere down south. Miami would be fine. Memphis would be fine. But anywhere I'd go, I'd be ready to go and play for."

On his favorite NBA team:

"I don't really have a favorite team. I just have a bunch of favorite players. That's one reason why it makes it easier for me to say I'd just go to any team."

On if he reminds himself of anyone:

"I don't really try to model myself after anybody in particular. I just try to make aspects of my game great. I try to shoot the ball well, penetrate and create for my team. I like Allen Houston as far as his shooting, Larry Bird as far as his shooting, but I don't really try to pattern myself after anybody. I try to make me my own person."

Continued:

"One person I'd say, is I shoot like Bird because I have a high release and the way my form is. As far as my style of play, I wouldn't say it reminds me of too many people."

"I got a lot stronger. I just tried to concentrate working in the weight room – that's one thing Weaver tried to coach me on. Not only keep your body fresh, getting a little more confident doing some of the things on the floor you feel you can do."

  • gained 10 pounds, fluctuate between 200 and 205, before 190 to 195

On how he gained weight last summer:

"Lifting those weights and eating breakfast put the weight on me a little bit."

On how many positions he'll play this year:

"Coach told me that that's where I'd be playing. I'm the type of player that I don't really mind where I'm playing as long as I'm on the floor. I feel I can make things happen. When I'm on the floor, I just try to make plays, get deflections, charges, score if need be and just try to be a team player."

"I'll play any position. I don't really care."

"Probably more three and two than four."

On mistmatches at the four:

"It creates mistmatches for other teams. In the zone and stuff like that, I'm able to get out and knock the shot down or get some isolation plays where I can beat guys off the dribble."


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