Coach Calhoun Made A Big Difference

<B>METUCHEN, N.J.</B> -- After committing to the University of Connecticut during a Wednesday evening press conference, 7-0 center Andrew Bynum took the time to answer follow-up questions from a small gathering of reporters.

Here is a transcript of Bynum's responses to those queries:

Media: What were some of the things that you agonized over in the decision-making process? Andrew Bynum: Just really saying no to the coaches. That was real hard, like Coach Hewitt and Roy Williams. That had to be done, and I made my decision last night.

M: You said that the campus visits were more important than the in-home visits?
AB: Yes, definitely, the campus visits were important because I got to see like where I would be at and whether or not I fit in.

M: When did you inform the coaches of your decision?
AB: Last night.

M: Were you surprised with the speed and rapidity with which the word got out?
AB: Definitely. Within 10 minutes of a phone call to I think Georgia Tech. Coach Williams didn't know, but reporters were already writing articles. Some reporters tried to call, but we said no comment until today.

M: Compare the different school visits. What was it about UConn that put them over the top?
AB: When I went down to Georgia, I didn't think I fit into that sort of atmosphere.

M: Socially?
AB: Yeah, socially. It was just different, too different. But I do like Louis Williams and Mike Mercer, and it was a really cool experience to go down there. Then, when I went to Georgia Tech, I was actually sick for some of the visit, so I didn't get to see everything that I needed to see. So I had to eliminate those guys. The difference between UConn and North Carolina was that UConn was closer and showed a little bit more love. It was between me and [Richard] Hendrix for some time at North Carolina. I think that really affected me. I just want to be sure that if things got tough, who Coach Williams would depend on. If it was going to be me or somebody else, whereas I know Calhoun liked me and would depend on me.

M: Going back a ways, what school sent you your first letter?
AB: I am really not too sure. The first university might have been American during my sophomore year.

M: You've had a distinguished high school and AAU career. Any highlights that stand out?
AB: Just winning the Super Showcase in Florida with my AAU team.

M: Because of your size, people expect you to be a dominant player, even though you can't always due to the speed of the game. Is achieving the night in, night out consistency the biggest challenge facing you?
AB: That's something, an issue, consistency. And that's why I want to go to college. I will learn how to work and iron those crinks out of my game.

M: What do you chalk that up to, maturity?
AB: Yeah, maturity, definitely. I am only 17 years old right now. I think two more years of weight training, running, getting stronger and into better condition would do me good.

M: How about from a mental aspect?
AB: Yes, definitely, mental maturity. Being able to hang out with my peers in college and being away from home to grow and mature as a man. Those are two things in particular.

M: We talked about the NBA Draft during the press conference. What would be the threshold -- lottery?
AB: Top ten pick.

M: It would have to be lottery or top ten?
AB: Lottery, definitely lottery.

M: So if someone projected you as the 28th pick of the draft?
AB: I would go to college.

M: But the tenth pick?
AB: I would definitely think about going to the league.

M: Is that something that permeates your thinking or your family's thinking every day?
AB: No really. I am not trying to think too far ahead. I am trying to win a state championship here and be the first to do that.

M: Are you all qualified academically?
AB: Yes, my GPA is a 3.3 and on my SAT I got a 950.

M: Two years ago when you were at Solebury, did you ever in your wildest dreams think that you could be in this position now on your 17th birthday?
AB: Honestly, no. I was a different type of player. Going to Solebury (a boarding school in New Hope, PA) helped me. Because I got to play against people my size for a change. That helped to mature my game. When I came back here (Middlesex County), I just worked out on AAU teams and got to be seen.

M: Is there anyone you credit for speeding up your development?
AB: That man sitting over there, Larry Marshall, started me with my strength and conditioning, running in the sand, things like that. Now I go to a trainer named Bill Burr, and we work on lateral movement, explosiveness, full court lunges, jumping up and down on boxes. Every kind of thing imaginable. We just go through basketball season moves, any kind of low post moves.

M: What was it that led to your close relationship with Coach Calhoun?
AB: I just felt like I could connect with him. It was definitely the easiest to talk to him. The way he recruited me -- he actually declined guys and told them no, we're waiting for Bynum. I just think that's a really good thing.

M: So he made you a priority?
AB: Yes, but I was a priority at other places, too.

M: Will you sign early with UConn?
AB: Yes, I will sign with them next month.


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