HoopsHype.com Interviews

Raymond Felton: "I want to bring a winning attitude"
by Marc Narducci / November 5, 2005

How has this NBA experience been for you for far?

Raymond Felton: It's been a dream come true and things have been going pretty well.

You are playing in Charlotte, about two hours from Chapel Hill, where you played in college. What's it like playing in the same state as a pro?

RF: It definitely has its advantages. You have a lot of support from a lot of the fans, plus it's close to my hometown.

Your college teammate Sean May was also a first-round pick of the Bobcats. Does it help to have him there with you?

RF: It does. It gives you somebody else that you can lean on. We are going through the same thing, so we can both be there for one another.

You and Brevin Knight go against each other in practice. What is that like?

RF: We basically make each other better each day.

What has been your biggest adjustment to the NBA?

RF: Basically all the traveling. You have to make sure you eat right and get the proper rest. You have got to take care of your body.

You went from playing for an NCAA champion to a second-year expansion team. Is that difficult going from a perennial winner to a team that expected to take its lumps?

RF: It's not really tough. You have to go out there and have the same winning attitude. That is what I want to bring to the team, a winning attitude.

You have to admit that the expectations aren't exactly high for the Bobcats.

RF: That is cool. We are underdogs and I think that is good. It means we have a lot to prove.

What were your thoughts on being selected No. 5 in the draft?

RF: I was excited. I was astonished. It was something I worked hard for all my life.

You had four first-round draft choices from last year's North Carolina team. What were practices like?

RF: It was always competitive. It was like playing in a real game all the time, going at it. That is how we made each other better.

You get asked this a lot, but how did winning the NCAA title feel?

RF: That was another dream, another goal I set for myself and our team. It was a big thing.

North Carolina was picked to win the NCAA title. How much pressure was there in being the favorite?

RF: There was no pressure. I was the point guard and leader. Everybody looked at me to put that team together. Everybody looked at me to have that team ready to play each and every night.

If you didn't win the NCAA title last season as a junior, would you have entered the NBA Draft?

RF: I don't know because we had a successful season and I did pretty well for myself individually, so I can't say I would have, but I can't say I would have gone back either.

How exciting was the championship run?

RF: It was fun because I thought we were getting better each and every game.

Your career scoring average in college was 12.5 points per game. Many feel you can be a better scorer in the NBA. What are your thoughts on that?

RF: The NBA is more wide open. I could probably score more. At the same time you have more minutes. So of course you will put up more points than in college, with more minutes.

The Bobcats seem to be a team with a solid young foundation. How do you feel about this young nucleus?

RF: It's a team that is known for winning, with guys who won national championships in college. I guess that is the foundation that coach (Bernie) Bickerstaff and the Bobcats are trying to build around. I think it's a great
thing.

Do you notice a difference in speed at the NBA level compared to college?

RF: The only thing different is the shot clock. That is what makes the game faster. Other than that, that is the way we played at Carolina.

What is it like getting used to competing against great players on a nightly basis?

RF: This is the NBA. Every team and every guard is going to be good and I have to be ready to play every night.

What is your learning curve as a rookie?

RF: Basketball is basketball. There are little things you have to learn, but you have to go out there and play basketball.

Have you set any goals?

RF: Not really for myself. The biggest thing I'm focusing on is trying to get some wins and try to make the playoffs for the season.

You have been a starter your entire life. Is it difficult now coming off the bench?

RF: It was kind of tough, but at the same time it doesn't bother me because I'm playing a lot. This is the NBA. You can't come in and expect to start as a rookie. Some guys get lucky and are able to start. My situation I have a great guy in front of me that I can learn from so I'm not really worried about it.

You had 10 points and five assists in 22 minutes during your first pro game, a 109-105 overtime loss in Chicago. Had did it feel to play that first game?

RF: I felt pretty good. I made some mistakes that maybe not everybody could have seen but me and coach figured it out. I got to attack more when I'm in the game, use my quickness more, use my strength, which is getting to the basket.

Are your relieved that your first game is over?

RF: I got that first game under my belt and that feel good.

After that tough loss, the Bobcats came back and won at Philadelphia, 110-93. What did it feel like?

RF: It was a great win for us. It was such a big boost for us after a tough loss to Chicago. We have a great team and a young team and as long as we play the way we did against Philadelphia, we will be all right.

Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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