It's always interesting to talk with basketball players before the NCAA tournament. Most ballers feel the same. They all feel as if they have a realistic chance at winning it all if they get on a roll during the Big Dance.
Wake's fantastic freshman guard C.J. Harris is no different.
He feels good about his Deacs chances of cutting down some nets if they get things rolling like he knows they can, starting with Texas on Thursday night. I told C.J. that a lot of what Wake did depended on well he shot the rock. Wake seemed to falter as he struggled to conclude the regular season.
But he still had a great year. The All-ACC Freshmen Team member almost tied the Wake Forest record (owned by Rodney Rogers, Chris Paul and Al-Farouq Aminu) for ACC Rookie of the Week honors with four.
Examiner.com (Anthony Hill) spoke with Harris earlier this week to get his thoughts on a few things heading into his first big tournament. Take a look at some of the things he had to say earlier this week.
Examiner: What's going on, Calvin?
C.J.: Nothing much. Just getting out of practice. What are you up to?
Examiner: I'm driving in downtown Charlotte right now. But we're good. I have you on speaker. First of all. Congratulations on making the All Atlantic Coast Conference Freshmen team. That's what's up.
C.J.: 'Preciate that man. I'm real excited about that.
Examiner: How much did you enjoy your first year of college ball?
C.J.: I felt good about it. I think that I contributed well to the team. I think things went pretty good for me. There were some things that went wrong during the regular season that I feel like I can correct. I look forward to correcting those things.
Examiner: I know that's right. You guys had your first preparation for the NCAA tournament today (Monday). Was practice any harder?
C.J.: Yeah. It was more intense. But everybody is so excited. You know that.
C.J.: We're anxious that everything is right around the corner. We're trying to get better. And we're trying to learn about our next opponent.
Examiner: Speaking of your next opponent. What are your thoughts on Texas?
C.J.: Texas. They're a big team. They're an all-around team. They play inside and out. We'll just have to do our thing, and guard how we guard. We should be able to stop them.
Examiner: I hear that. I have to tell you like this. I feel like Wake goes when you go. The pressure is on you. Wake does well when you're hitting your shots. If you're not on then you all might not win.
C.J.: Hey, I'm out there to shoot. We also have Gary (Clark) coming off the bench. He's one of the best shooters on the team. A lot of teams like to run zone on us. Hopefully we will be able to shoot them out of whatever they want to do to slow us down. I don't feel any pressure. I feel good.
Examiner: That's good to hear. What's been the toughest adjustment for you since being in college?
C.J.: I would have to say the speed of the game. It's much quicker out there. In high school, I could catch a player that was two steps ahead of me. The practices are much tougher too.
Examiner: How are your classes coming along?
C.J.: The classes are going well. You know that I made All-ACC Academic Team. So I stay on top of my books too.
Examiner: What are some of the things you've been doing off the court?
C.J.: Lately it's been sleeping. (Both laugh.) I've been so tired. Me and Ari (Stewart) like to shop a lot.
Examiner: What was the last movie you saw?
C.J.: I haven't been to the movies in a while. The last movie I saw was "Crazy Horse." I didn't like that at all. "Law Abiding Citizen" was the last good movie I watched.
Examiner: Yeah, that was good. What do you listen to before a game?
C.J.: I'm either bumping Lil' Wayne or Jay-Z.
Examiner: Has there been a single opponent that you can say has been the tougest?
C.J.: I don't know. Every team is really tough. But the hardest teams were probably Purdue and Duke. They both played so hard on defense and offense.
Examiner: How far do you realistically see Wake going this year?
C.J.: We can go as far as we want to go. We just have to do what we have to do.
Examiner: If Wake doesn't win it all this year then which team does?
Examiner: Let's finish with a short free association. Uh, C.J. Harris.
C.J.: All-around good guy.
Examiner: L.D. Williams (Wake senior).
C.J.: Best defender in the ACC.
Examiner: Ish Smith (Wake senior point guard).
C.J.: The best point guard in the country.
Examiner: Number 11.
C.J.: C.J. Harris. (Both laugh.)
Examiner: Who's going to be the top pick in upcoming NBA Draft?
C.J.: Probably Evan Turner (Ohio State). He's been a beast lately.
Examiner: No doubt. All right. We're done.