Jones On Leadership Role

Lazeric Jones is now a senior starting point guard, and he talks about being named a team captain, how he wants to step up and be a leader, and more...

Lazeric Jones talked to us at Media Day on Wednesday.

Q: Coach Howland says you've been spending a lot of time on your shooting this summer. How are you feeling about your stroke right now?

A: Feeling great, the injuries are done and I've worked really hard on my shots and different shots and I feel like this is going to be my year.

Q: How is your wrist feeling now?

A: I'm good right now. I feel 100%. I'd say I'm probably in better shape than I was last year. I got my injuries done, so now I'm just ready to get started.

Q: You had the injury for a while. Did you find it affecting the way you shot and did you kind of have to do away with some bad habits once you got it healthy again?

A: It definitely did adjust my shot because it was so uncomfortable. I didn't feel like myself. I was just trying my best not to make excuses and do whatever my teammates needed me to do. I wasn't making my shots and I had to get the right people the ball. I think that helped me develop as a point guard, helping me as far as my vision because I had to make plays for other people to get them the ball at the right times and run the team. Even feeling so uncomfortable, it definitely helped me mentally develop as a point guard.

Q: You're probably going to be one of the better shooters on the team this year, and you're probably going to be seeing a bit of zone this year. Do you see yourself as having to take the role of zone buster?

A: I definitely feel like I can knock down some shots. People may not know, but that's cool too. Maybe I can sneak in some easy jump shots on teams. Guys may give me screens not knowing I can shoot a little bit. I can just knock them down. We have some good shooters on this team, people just don't know about them yet. I know we have some great bigs that are going to get doubled a lot. When it comes time for me to get open, it's just time to make shots.

Q: Did Howland's system take a lot of getting used to last year?

A: It did, but coach, he just told me to play my game. After a while, he just told me to relax and play my game. He told me the whole season, regardless of my injuries, that he had my back and that he supported me regardless of what happened on the court. With him always having my back and just being confident, he gives me the freedom to go out and do the right things and make the right decisions.

Q: How much easier does it make it for you as a point guard to have a guy like JoshSmith clogging the middle?

A: He's made my job so much easier because Josh takes up so much space, and draws so much attention regardless of what's happening in the game that us guards get a lot of open looks. And that just opens everything up for me and my other teammates. With Josh and Reeves, and Stover and the twins also, they're definitely going to open up the floor. If we can make open jump shots, we can be really good.

Q: Point guard's dream, huh?

A: Right now it's like a kid in a candy store. Yeah, we have the best of both worlds with the bigs right now. Bigs who can catch, bigs who can shoot, bigs who can dribble, bigs who can rebound.

Q: Sounds like you're worried about one of them taking your spot at the point.

A: To be honest, I've got to keep an eye out for that because I know Reeves can dribble, so I've got to work hard to make sure I can stay on the court.

Q: Does it do anything for your confidence when Howland gives you that captain spot?

A: Not only does it show you that coach has confidence in me, but it just makes me work harder to know that coach has appointed me as captain. You have to be that person everyone can look to. I kind of pride myself on that. I want to take that role and I love being the captain of this team.

Q: Is it a lot of added responsibility for you, to keep the energy up on defense and make sure everyone know their roles?

A: It is, but I'll take it on. I love it. These are still my friends, so to be able to get on them and say, "let's go" and they can get on me when I'm slacking. So, it's always good to know that not only do the coaches have your back but your teammates have your back.

Q: With the guard situation on the team, are you expecting you and Jerime to switch off at the one, or to play together a fair amount at the one and two?

A: It'll be a little bit of both. Sometimes he'll come in for me and sometimes we'll be together. It worked a lot last year, when we started having me and Jerime and Malcolm at the three, so we're hoping the success we had with it last year will carry over to this year.

Q: Have you talked to Jerime Anderson about his situation?

"Just telling him we have his back. That's still one of our brothers regardless of what's going on. He's still one of the leaders on this team. We believe in Jerime, and we're always going to have his back, regardless of what happens. Right now, it's like it never happened, he's still just Jerime on the team. We don't focus on the negatives. We're all friends here regardless and when we step onto the floor we're still friends. So you've got to have his back. You can't turn your back on him."

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