“Yeah, it is special. My mom, she wants me to smack 'em every time we play them. She was here today. I know my family enjoyed it. It's always good to play somebody from your home state.”
Have you had to educate your teammates on Stringtown?
“I have. They always say I'm a country boy, but it doesn't bother me too much. I mean, I like being called a country boy. Most people look at me as a city boy. But when I tell them I'm from the country, they're like, ‘Really?'”
What have you done to make yourself such a good shooter?
“Getting into the gym, putting up a lot of shots. Getting some managers, two or three of them, getting passed the ball. Getting shots before practice. After practice. In my free time; even when I'm doing homework.”
Safe to say you have no fear of taking the big shot?
“No, I don't. I was struggling today (2-of-7 shooting overall). Coach (Fred Hoiberg) told me to keep shooting it. When I shot the last one — and I didn't think it was going to go in, the way it came off my hand — thank God it went in.”
You've lost two heartbreakers to Kansas. Now you get them again. A meeting you were hoping for?
“We're ready for it. It's the third time. We played them at their place, close game, we got beat. Same thing at our place. Third time's the charm. We're ready for a little revenge.”
By John Helsley