Talk about this team:
We got some guys that can do some great things from the first to the 10th guy. We miss the guys that were here last year but these guys are going to fill in and it's going to be really exciting to watch. There is a great mentality right now. There is a lot of talent on this team.
How about Anthony?
His size his composure and what he can do at his size. He's 6-foot-8 and he can handle the ball and shoot.
What did you do over the summer?
Just working hard and shooting every day and take out some glitches that I saw last year that I didn't like. I just went to work this summer and got up a lot of shots.
Opening the season at MSG:
At Madison Square Garden, that's the dream for basketball players at any level. The good thing about this team is that everyone seems to be pretty close. We have a lot of fun out there and when you have fun, you play better.
What about inexperience?
At the beginning of the year we might have our troubles but it's going to make us stronger and hopefully around tournament time we'll be peaking. If that works out, I think things will be fine. I think coach knows we're a young team.
Talk about being back:
I'm really glad to be back. My teammates did a great job of helping me get through this. I'm looking forward to it. I want to show people the real me more than anything. It was tough because some people judge you before they really get the chance to know you but I know I'm a good guy and everyone that knows me knows that. I'm just looking to show everyone that I'm like that.
What was so hard about being away?
It was tough because all my teammates were here and I kept in touch with them to a certain extent and watched them on TV. They had a tough season but this season we're all back together again now. I'm just looking forward to this year. I just wanted to come out and prove myself. If I had went to another place it would've been like running away. I just wanted to come back and show them what I can do.
Who helped you most through this?
My dad has been strong and has helped me through this more than anything. We talk all the time and he was always positive. He was telling me to go out and prove people wrong and show them what was really up. My dad has definitely been here for me.
Is this the most talented team to come here in the last few years?
To tell you the truth I didn't watch basketball until my senior year of high school so I couldn't tell you much about it. But the last two years we've definitely improved our talent level at every position. We have guys that can fill in. At the center position we have two guys that can really get the job done. We have one guy that can come in and play the center and four position. We obviously have Carmelo and Hakim and they can come in and play pretty well for us. Obviously Carmelo is the highlight reel for a lot of things. He's going to be a good rebounder and shooter and we're going to run a lot of our offense around him. I just hope the rest of us can step up and the levels he wants to go soon. Obviously Kueth is going to take us places.
Talk about Carmelo:
I saw him in France and he was smaller back then. He's gotten a lot bigger since then and a lot stronger. He plays a lot harder than he used to. I played with him after my senior year.
What did you work on over the summer?
My weight. I gained 25 pounds. I'm 270 now. My footwork. I went to the big man camp. I worked on a lot of moves outside the basket and inside too. Get position, go up stronger. That's been the main thing. I've gotten better.
Going to be hungry for this year?
I'm going to hunger for basketball my whole life. So yeah, definitely this year, especially with the talent we have on this team.
Have you been following the team so far?
I'm originally from South Carolina so I never really became a Syracuse fan until a year ago when I committed. Location was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to go back down south, but finally in the end it looked like Syracuse was the best place for me. My parents could come to the games. I'm glad I'm here.
How do you feel about practice so far?
As a freshman, I'm looking at all these guys and I think we're doing everything right. Coach sees all the negatives, I see everything as mostly positives. It looks like we're going to have a very good year from what we see.
Why did you pick Syracuse?
I love all the coaches and the players. I got to know Gerry over the summer and I got to know him a lot better. I talked and I thought about it a lot and this is the place I signed up.
Coach has you at the point guard or shooting guard position. Thoughts?
I like playing either position but I played more point guard in high school. But I played two guard in high school too, so I'm used to doing both. Whatever it comes down to, whatever coach decides is fine for me.
Do you mind playing the two?
If Billy is giving me open jump shots I'll love playing the two. Hopefully it will work both ways.
Have you been to the Dome yet?
We had our opening practice in the Dome. The background is a little different. When the fans get there, there will be a different background. It didn't really bother me as far as shooting. Anywhere you shoot it's going to be the same I think. I wouldn't blame anything on a bad location.
Who did you watch at Syracuse growing up?
Well, Billy Owens. DC. All these guys. There is just a lot of great history here. The guys that are here, we're going to try to be a great team. I think that's what we're hoping for.
How many times have you worn that jersey?
It's the second time. I like it. I like the way it fits.
What do you think of practice so far?
The first week of practice I thought was going to be extremely hard. But it wasn't that hard. I think it's going to get hard going on, but nah. But the team chemistry is good right now. I think that we're going to do a lot of good things as a team.
You have so much youth coming in. Is this a negative or positive?
Coming in together, it can be a bad thing and it can be a good thing. We'll get to grow together as the years go on.
Why did you pick Syracuse?
My recruiting process was hectic. I went from Big East schools one week to ACC schools to SEC schools. I went from Maryland down to Virginia and then to Syracuse. I just landed at Syracuse. I'm really happy that I landed here. It was a great situation for me.
Feeling the pressure?
Nah, not at all. I don't feel any pressure right now. Whenever it comes, it comes. I'm prepared for it.
Talk about being reunited with Billy:
Reunited in a good way. We went to France a couple years ago and we won the gold medal. We played pretty well over there so I hope we can bring it here. We know we're good but we need practice. The freshman we have are great. I've never seen this type of chemistry.
Are you going to stay all four years?
As of right now, I'm planning on staying four years. I'm not thinking about much else.
Assistant Coach Mike Hopkins:
Will Anthony stay all four years?
He likes college. You only go to college once. He's just a tremendous player to be around. I think he wants to win a national championship.
This is a young team. What's the atmosphere like?
This is a romp room. These kids joke around. But when these guys come to play, they're serious. You see these guys getting better and better every day.
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