Chris Duhon: "I just have to be myself"
Chris Duhon: I think it was a great year. We won a lot of games, lost very few and we played in the Final Four. We fell short of our goal, but it was definitely a great year for us. Obviously, we would have loved to make it all the way, but it was not possible. I'm very pleased, though.
You played a lot better in your senior year than in your junior year. What changed from one season to the other?
CD: If you look at the facts, we didn't play all that bad in my junior season. We won the ACC Championship and we were in the Sweet 16. We had a lot of young guys and although the results were not as good as this year, I think that season helped us grow and put ourselves in a situation to have the success we experienced this year. Me personally, I know I could have done a lot better that year. But as a team, we learned a lot.
Are you pleased with the way you played in college or do you think you didn't play up to your full potential?
CD: I'm definitely pleased. I had the chance to mature as a player and as a person. I played for a winning program, I won a lot of games and I accomplished all my goals.
Does it bother you that some people say you did not live up to the expectations?
CD: I cannot worry about the expectations other people have. I just have to worry about my own expectations. And I lived up to my expectations. You can always do better, but I'm very pleased with what I did. Now it's time to move on and see what happens at the next level.
What is your daily routine now that the college season is over?
CD: I'm just focused on working the hardest I can to give myself the best opportunity to achieve my goals.
What are you working on the most?
CD: You have to work on everything right now. You can't focus on just one thing. I'm trying to get myself in the best possible physical shape and I'm working on defense and on my offensive game.
What do you think you need to do to impress the NBA scouts in these two months?
CD: The most important thing is just being myself – Chris Duhon. I just have to be myself – a guy that goes out there and brings a lot of energy, that plays with a lot of heart, tries to do all that's necessary for the team and competes hard.
What kind of player do you think you can become in the NBA?
CD: I'm just going to be Chris Duhon. People know what to expect from me. I'm a player dedicated to the team and always looking to win first. That's the kind of player I am. I'm a winner.
You know a lot people say Duke players don't do very well in the NBA. Does that bother you?
CD: All I can say is that Duke is a winning program in which teamwork is the priority. There, your learn how to play hard, how to play together... Then what you have to do is mix all those ingredients and transfer them to the next level. And that's what I'm going to do.
Do you stay in touch with Jay Williams?
CD: Yes, we stay in touch.
What kind of things do you talk about?
CD: Not about the injury. While we were at Duke, we became real close friends. But we don't talk about that, we talk about things outside that. I know he has a great mindset – and we expected no other thing from him – and he is dedicated to returning to play. But we don't talk about the accident or the injury. We talk about personal things, personal stuff.
Has he given you any advice on what you need to do in these two months till the NBA Draft?
CD: He told me that I have to work even harder. No matter how hard you've worked before, he says you have to work even harder now because it's a different level.
Do you think you have a good chance to be in the first round of the draft?
CD: I think so. I definitely think so. And I'm going to work hard to accomplish that goal.
You know for second-round picks – if you fall to the second round – is hard to make it in the league. Can you see yourself playing in other league that's not the NBA?
CD: I'm not concentrating on that right now. I'm just thinking on the short term and what I have to do before the draft. When the time comes, if the opportunity is there, then you can take it or not. But my mindset is to be on an NBA roster next season.
Finally, you know your teammate Luol Deng announced his decision to declare himself eligible for this year's NBA Draft. What is your opinion about that?
CD: Luol Deng is a great player. He is very talented and has a lot of upside. I was not involved in the decision process, so I can't give an opinion. But I know that with Luol and his family and the Duke coaching staff being involved in the process, whatever the decision is, that's going to be the correct decision.
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com
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