Player Quotes - UW Hoops

SEATTLE - Here are quotes from Justin Holiday, Aziz N'Diaye, Darnell Gant, Antoine Hosley, Terrence Ross, Brendan Sherrer, Scott Suggs, Isaiah Thomas and Justin Wilcox, taken during UW's Media Day Wednesday. The Huskies are considered the top returners in the Pac-10, and confidence is high as they prepare for their pre-season, highlighted by an appearance in the prestigious Maui Invitational.

Justin Holiday:
On taking pride as a defensive standpoint for the team: "Of course! I mean, not just because people look at me that way. But, the only way you can win games and championships, is by getting stops. And if you can take the ball from somebody else, and keep them from scoring, that helps your team."

On your improvements as a shooter… did the coaches push you, or was it a personal choice?: "Not necessarily to be more aggressive. But I think it was I was more comfortable and playing on the floor, being out there. And that is what our team needed for me to help them. I think it was me being comfortable. Coach did say something like; I do need to hit open shots to help the team. The past year I was able to defend but I wasn't shooting—so that's why I wasn't playing much. So me being able to hit shots has helped the team, and get me more playing time."

On your past injury…: "At the beginning of the year, I had my surgery. I think it was kind of tough for me to get back from—or the reason why it took me so long to get back in the groove. But things happen, I've been hurt in the past—it was just an experience that I had to go through to get to where our team is today.

What do you plan on doing next?: "I mean, of course I plan on going to the next level. That's everybody's plan. I mean if you didn't have that plan, then who knows what you would be like at this level. You wouldn't be the best you can."

On your expectations for this year…: "I want to win. That's pretty much all I want to do. Whatever it takes for me—it can be anything from scoring, getting stops, anything, whatever it takes. That's all I want to do."

On the senior leadership. Do you want to hold that role?: "Of course I want to hold that role. I mean, I am one of the captains. I plan on doing that the best I can."
Aziz N'Diaye:
How's it going so far? These guys sell you a story of what it's going to be like. Is it like they promised?: "Yeah, they promised everything they told me, so far it's good, I'm not complaining.

On the stories circling Aziz, the broken nose…: "Oh, it's going fine, as you can see. I'm just wearing a mask, so t can heal."

Are you going to be wearing it?: "Probably not."

Are the coaches going to make you wear it, or is it a choice?: "No, I mean I just want to get healthy, going through the season. I just don't want to break it again, so I'm just wearing it right now to protect it."

On you running the mile: "I mean, just going through the season, with the training, they do a really good job at getting us into shape. We're doing a good job so far as a team. It's not me, I was just comfortable running it, it's fine."

On your knee and playing at this level: "It feels great coming back from the floor. It's going to be like my first year coming back from injury. It means a lot to me. Last year, I remember just sitting out, suspenseful, sitting out and watching my teammates play, and not being able to help out. This year—finally healthy, going through the season, and help my teammates the best I can."

What is the number one thing you are working on?: "Right now—well we haven't started practices yet. So we're just doing a lot of stuff as a team, we've been doing a lot of defensive stuff, so far that's all we've been doing, and playing pick-ups.

On your knee…: "I feel it's 100% back. Just sometimes it kind of gets a little uncomfortable, but it's fine—I'm not even thinking about it anymore."

On wearing your brace all year…: "After surgery, the doctor told me I have to wear the brace for one year. I just have to wear it. But that's the only thing; I'm wearing it this year, so I'm fine. But maybe next year I won't need it."
Darnell Gant:
On the three point shooting. Was it the coaches or a personal choice? "I feel like that's always been—I've always tried to be a shooter, the best shooter as possible. But last spring time, they told me that they wanted me to start looking for that more. You know the pick and pop, pick and pop 17 ft., but now they want me to step off, so you know I've worked on that a lot this summer, and I've worked on my spot up shooting. Just stuff I usually worked on, I just didn't shoot 3s in the game."

Who helps you on that?: "Me and Justin a lot. And then me and Gaddy—me Gaddy, and CJ would shoot if Justin wasn't around, and they were around. I just pick and choose who I shoot with. But mostly Justin because I was home all summer."

Time flies…and red shirting…: "Yeah, I mean it was hard red shirting. But I look at them [Justin and Matthew] you know they have great careers so far, I'm still trying to get mine going underway. I'm proud of those guys, so far I'm not as proud as myself, but I'll be looking up."

On the athleticism of this season's team…: "Most definitely we got a lot of athletes. This team has a lot of weapons. And when we get everything down that we know how to use it, we're going to be a dangerous team."

What is your best Aziz story?: "The first day we came back, or the second day we came back--I'm getting past people who is guarding me, and I'm getting to the basket, I'm thinking it's going to be an easy lay-up, and Aziz is just tossing them everywhere, and then other people start getting to the basket, Aziz looks like he's about to break the glass when he's blocking the shots off the backboard. It's crazy. He's a great defender. I'm going to love playing with him this year. We finally got that 7ft. beast. He's going to do a lot of good things for us this year. People are going to be sleeping on him but I know he's ready. That's my guy; we formed a little relationship early on."
Antoine Hosley:
How long have you and Terrence Ross been talking about playing college basketball l together?: "I would say—Middle school. That is when we first met and stuff. We've known each other for a long time. So it's been a while, a long while."

Give me a scouting report on Terrance…: "I don't know. It's not hard; it's kind of easy now. I've seen this guy since high school and all his development. He can shoot the ball really well, his handles are getting better, his defense is crazy, he can jump out the gym. I feel like there is no limit for his game. If he plays hard every time he steps on the floor, it's going to be a show."

Where would you attack him?: "I don't know. It's hard. He's a good player. He's a great player. I feel like he can make it a long ways."

Who won in the mile between him and Terrence?: "Antoine—"(Ross) is a runner. I didn't know he could run like that. He has a lot of endurance and a lot of pace to his running."

How'd you feel after the mile? : "I felt cool after running it in the summer time. It wasn't as bad as what the team mates say. I think they try to make it seem harder than it was, so we can really get ready for it. But I think after running it the second time it felt pretty good, it was cool."

On being the shortest player on the team: "Yeah, I think I'm a little bit taller than Isaiah but we'll see. On the list they got me 5'11 and him 5'10."

What's it like going against the big guy (Aziz)?: "It's crazy. It's like I can't see to the top, when he brings the ball up I can't see the ball or anything. He's huge. He plays really hard, he plays really big and aggressive, and when he dunks, you can hear it. So it's pretty hard."

What are some knuckle head things you've heard Terrance say since being here?: "After the work outs, what he says like, ‘ohh—we're really in college. This is not high school no more.' We laugh at that every time, like it's kind of a reality check. Like we can't do what we did in high school. You know high school—you can kind of play chill, but it's no chill time. You're doing something at all time.

On Maui, do you think about it?: "We have 3 or 4 games before there. I just want to make sure we go into the season and win those, and I feel if we win those and get a good start, that's going to push us to do even better in Maui. Maui is a big tournament, so a lot of good teams in it. But I feel we're a good team ourselves and we compete every day, and we work hard and I think we're preparing ourselves very well for the tournament. So I think we can make a good showing."

Besides the Maui games, what game do you have circled to play?: "Probably CAL, because all of my dad's side of the family is there, so I'll have a lot a lot of people there. So I think CAL will be a big one. But Washington State too, I know we're rivals so I'm trying to see what the fans are like during that game. So I think I have two circled."
Terrence Ross:
How comfortable is it having Antoine here?: "It's like—it's like having a brother here at school. It's actually just fun. I don't know how else to put it. It's a blessing to have a little brother with me."

Scouting report on Antoine: "He's quick, crafty, plays hard. He can shoot, that's the most important thing, he can shoot. If you leave him open he will knock them down."

You're here, is it like you thought?: "Yes and no. I mean we haven't really—there's only so much that can come true yet. I'm still looking forward to practices, games, game days and all that other stuff. So it's kind of hard to say."

Who won in the mile between him and Antoine?: "I did."

Who is the guy here that surprised you the most?: "Matt. Matthew, he surprised me so far. Nobody really talked to me about him, or even told me about Matt. But he's definitely a guy they should've told me about. I didn't know he was as nice as he was."

What are some knuckle head things you've heard Antoine say since being here?: "His singing-- He'll sing this little Justin Bieber voice."

On Maui, do you think about it?: "Yeah, I mean, I think about it. But I'm not really focused on it until we actually get there. So the first game, that's what I'm really focused on—I don't want to mess up. We really want to make sure that we win that game, so we can get to the next game."

Besides the Maui games, what game do you have circled to play?: "CAL, because that's where my dad's family is from too. And Oregon. Oregon and probably Washington State."
Brendan Sherrer:
On this difference between this and last year: "I'm not coming in late in practice like I did last year, I missed all that preseason, so I feel a lot stronger, and a lot more conditioned than last year."

On taking to the weight room: "Beginning of last year, I think I weighed 230 and I ended up dropping down to 225 or something like that and now I'm around 240/245."

On the way he feels today as opposed to the first day of practice last year: "Much better. The first day of practice last year I could barely breathe. This year, it's just been much better." On feeling like he's come a long ways: "I feel like I have. Working over the spring and the summer, I feel like I've grown as a player."

On being "the Human Victory Cigar": "I really don't think much of it. I enjoy it, it's something unique, but it's not necessarily something that defines me. It's cool I guess."

On role: "I love these guys. I come every day and they make me laugh. I've really connected with everyone so it's a lot of fun."

On hearing the crowd calling for him at the end of games: "Yeah I hear it. The crowd, the fans, the Dawg Pack. Definitely."

On what his parents say about that: "My parents, I've talked to them about it. The support me and stuff. I don't know, I guess it's something special."

On having fun with it: "Yeah, definitely, it's fun and it's an incredible feeling having all those fans behind you."

On not just playing to have fun and working as hard as everyone else: "Oh yes, exactly."
Scott Suggs:
On going from being a kid to being a man: "I've been in the system for a couple years now, so just a little bit more comfortable, a little bit more confident going into the season and really the most prepared since I've been here."

On looking more than a little more comfortable and confident: "Definitely more confident than last year is what I'll say."

On being more than just a spot-up shooter: "I think I have more to offer than just a shooter. Being able to create plays and it's like I said it's all coming with being more comfortable with the system and being here. More confidence and everything. It all ties into it."

On changes in weight: "When I first got here 170, now about 193."

On how that helps him: "Added weight definitely helps. It comes with age too."

On getting better defensively: "Just doing what the coaches want me to do. Defensively I was behind when I first got here. It was more so too much thinking. I wasn't really just reacting. I was thinking before I reacted. Now that I know where I'm supposed to be in spots in pretty much every situation, it's more just reacting, reading the play and trying to anticipate plays and just playing. So, it's coming a lot easier."
Isaiah Thomas:
On how Jason Terry has helped his game: "It's just repetition; doing the same thing, shooting the same shot every time. I've done that and the workouts he has help me a lot. So I carry that even when he's in Dallas now, I do the same workouts to this day, so he's helped me a lot."

On how he fared in one on one with Terry: "I beat him a couple times. He beat me. It's hard to guard him because he can shoot it so good., but he knows he definitely can't guard me."

On going to Dallas: "I was there at least every month. I was in and out. And then when he wasn't in Dallas, he was here so that was good."

On how Jason helped Gaddy: "He got his shot right. Abdul's shot is a little awkward and Jason was on him everyday. We came here in the morning and he was on him about repetition and shooting the same shot. Same thing with me. Abdul has improved a lot, especially with his shooting and he's going to surprise a lot of people this year."

On the disappointment of not getting past the Sweet Sixteen last year: "The talent we have, we feel like we can beat anybody. We feel like that's the next step. We've seen what the Sweet Sixteen is like and we want to get further than that, so we're going to put in the work and try to do that."

On busting the right and out: "Oh yeah, yeah, that'll be out every now and then."

On being tired of answering questions about not using his right hand: "It's weird because, if you look at it, a right hander goes right as much as I go left. It's just different seeing a left hander doing it. That's just how I see it. If you point out somebody who's right handed, I bet he goes right as much as I go left, but you're so used to looking at a right hander playing basketball. As long as nobody's stopping me going left I'm going to still go to the left. No matter what it is.

On this being his team now: "You can say that, yeah. I mean everything's not put on me, but it is. I feel like I've matured so much over the last two years that I'm ready to take that role to say it is my team. When we lose it's my fault and things like that. I've grown so much and hearing from Brandon Roy and hearing from Quincy and Jon, they've taught me so much over the years."

On what they've told him: "I don't really try to say too much to these dudes. I listen as much as possible when Brandon Roy and all them are talking about being a leader and doing everything to the best of your ability because everyone's watching you and everyone's wants to follow in your footsteps. So I listen to them dudes and try to put everything they say into what I do."

On Aziz taking up space in the paint: "I'm going to tell him every now and then, he's just got to move out, he's going to have to go to the 3-point line so I can get a couple layups. Naw, he's going to create space just being that big anyway. You have to guard someone who's seven foot anyway because it's easy for them to score around the basket. If they don't guard me then I'm going to shoot it, if they don't guard him then I'm going to drop it off to him."

On his best Aziz story: "Man, when he broke his nose the other day, he didn't even care. They told him he needed a mask, he said I don't even want a mask. That's how tough he is and that's something we needed, something we haven't had since Brock. Not putting my teammates down, but a tough guy in there that's not scared to foul somebody, not scared to just lay wood."

On CJ Wilcox's and Desmond Simmons' shooting ability's impact on his game: "It's going to make it so much easier. Terrence Ross, CJ, all those shooters, it's going to make it easier for me because you've got to guard them. If they're knocking shots down, we're going to be hard to guard. And that's how you want it because we're going to be coming a hundred miles per hour and it's going to be hard to defend us."

On the Maui Invite: "I talk about it all the time. I've never been to Hawaii and you see the Maui Invitational every year and you know how intense it is and how every game's on ESPN and everybody's watching. It's going to be fun and I can't wait."

On how he's different this year from last year: "Can't tell you, you'll just have to wait and see. I'm more mature, and a more complete basketball player. At the end of the day that's what you try to be, try to improve in every aspect of the game."
C.J. Wilcox:
On how hard it was redshirting: "Toward the end of the season it was got harder, but at the beginning when we were struggling through practice and everything I was just trying to learn, I wasn't worried about playing as much, but toward the end when we started doing well it looked fun being out there."

On thoughts of burning redshirt: "We joked about that a couple times, we didn't get too serious. It was in the back of my mind, but I just decided to wait."

On weight when he came in: "I was 176 when I came in here, I'm at 186 now. I feel stronger, I'm not bouncing off of people like I used to, kinda holding your ground. It's just a process really, getting used to playing with it.

On his shooting coming naturally: "After doing it for so long, it just becomes a habit. You don't really think about it, it's just something you're used to. You have to keep working on it, but after you get it down for a while, it's pretty easy to maintain that."

On Coach Shaw's story about how he was discovered: "I remember he told it in front of a kid's camp once. I hadn't heard the story yet, that was the first time, and it was pretty funny."

On the difference between what he expected and how it really is at UW: "It's a lot different than what I thought it was going to be. Just how intense it is and how much time you have to put into school and basketball and all of that. I think it's going to be better for everyone on the team. It's really a good school."

On expectations of being the best shooter on the team: "I'm hearing them but I'm just trying to be out here and be the best player I can be, but hopefully I can maintain those expectations."

On his game: "Just a shooter, a straight up shooter. I'm quick, play defense when I'm supposed to. Need to work on my rebounding. Other than that, I'm a shooter."

On being more than a shooter: "I feel comfortable shooting, so that's what I'm going to do most of the time, but if I have to put it on the floor, I can."

On his defensive ability: "As time came, I got better. At the beginning, people were stronger, faster, but toward the end, you start to get the hang of things and end up being a better defender."

On finally getting in a game: "I'm definitely going to be thinking about that first shot. Hopefully I don't airball it or something stupid like that, but it's going to be really fun." Top Stories