Postseason Q&A: Ari Stewart

One of the best high school programs in Georgia, Wheeler High, won another state title this month. Leading Wheeler was 2009 Wake Forest commit Ari Stewart. DeaconSports spoke with Stewart about his season and his plans for this spring and summer.

Tate Myers: Ari, tell us what it means to you to be a State Champion.
Ari Stewart: "It means that we are undoubtedly the best team in the state. Coming into this season we had a lot of doubters. People said we didn't play good enough defense, had bad team chemistry, and stuff like that. We just came together and got the job done. We faced a lot of adversity this season but we came out on top. I'm proud of that. Nobody can take that away from us."

TM: Talk about your individual play this past season.
AS: "I think I played really well. I had to play out of position at the 4 spot for the team so I wasn't able to show off all of my wing skills but I just did what I could to help the team win. I hit the face up jumpers, finished at the rim, and rebounded well. I played good enough to help lead us to a championship which is the main thing."

TM: What are you going to do to get ready for next season?
AS: I am really hitting the weight room hard. Everyone in college is very strong and athletic. I want to bulk up and just get stronger. I am also working on my ball handling skills. I have been told my handles are very good right now but I am not satisfied. I know in the ACC, teams like UNC and Duke like to pressure the ball so I want to continue to improve my handles."

TM: What part of your game gets overlooked the most?
AS: "I think it has to be my jumper. People think Ari Stewart and immediately think athletic, great finisher above the rim, and things like that. I think I have one of the best jumpers around and it gets overlooked. I can hit the mid range jumper or step out and hit the three. Also, my ability to pass the ball gets overlooked. I am able to see the court well and make the right pass and set up my teammates."

TM: What can Wake fans expect from you next season?
AS: "I plan on being a good shooter and help stretch the defenses. I also will be a good on the ball defender. Between L.D. and I, we can cause a lot of problems for other teams and their back court. I am also going to be a tenacious rebounder on both ends of the court."

Note: When this interview took place, Ari was getting ready to go to the Naismith Banquet in Atlanta. The best players in the area were invited to attended such as himself, Derrick Favors, and Mfon Udofia. Congrats to Ari for being selected to attend this event.

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