HoopsHype.com Interviews

Jeff McInnis: "LeBron is the truth"
by Bruce Meyer / February 7, 2004

Do you think you've found a home here in Cleveland?

Jeff McInnis: I don't know. I'm just playing basketball. I don't want to get into all that. I'm just playing ball.

You have to be happy with your start.

JM: I'm definitely happy. I feel like we have a great team here. We're all learning each other and as a result we're winning some games. We've got a couple veteran guys here, and we're just playing hard and winning some games.

What's your impression of Coach Silas so far?

JM: He's a great coach. He's a very detailed coach. I just listen to him; everything he wants me to do I just listen. He's been around this game 30 years so you've just got to listen to people like that.

What about the group of players the Cavs have here? What's your first impression?

JM: My first impression is I was really impressed with Carlos Boozer. He's the main person who stuck out in my mind. I noticed he was a good player, but I really didn't know he was that good. So watching Booze play, he's probably the most impressive guy since I've been here, besides LeBron.

What's your impression on LeBron's game?

JM: He's the truth. He's all they say he is. His work ethic is what really surprised me. He works really hard, and he wants to get better.

You had some trouble there in Portland with your playing time. Is it best that you're in a new situation now?

JM: I think everybody who plays the game wants to play. I mean, yeah, I'm playing so I'm happier, of course. I didn't want to be on the bench in Portland and still not winning, so of course I'm happy.

Coach Silas has been known to cut down minutes at times.

JM: I'm not into all that. I just want to play ball. Those questions like that are if... I mean, I just want to play basketball. If he decides to play me two minutes, he plays me two minutes. I'm just here to play basketball. I just want to focus on positive things.

What do you bring to the game?

JM: I just bring up-tempo, defense. I'm just a tough guy who won't back from nobody. Just be a leader and get the ball to guys who can score.

What would you like to improve on?

JM: My three-point shooting. Just constantly knock down threes when I'm open.

Do you work on that a lot?

JM: Yeah, I do a lot.

It seems like you have a pretty good mid-range jumper.

JM: Yeah, I've got a pretty good mid-range game. Just my threes. Knock down threes when I'm open. Just everything. Everything I do I want to get better at. Passing the ball, just being a better teammate. All that.

Like you said, you like to push the ball. What do you do when you come against a tough defensive team like Detroit?

JM: We've just got to play even harder. I think they're a tough defensive team but we scrapped down and we played tough defense against them. They only scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, so we've got to take some credit for playing defense too.

You've paid your dues in a few places before you got to play in the NBA. Does playing in the CBA make you hungry?

JM: Definitely. Any guy you see who comes from the CBA, he plays hard. Ira Newble, he's a hard-working player and he played in the CBA. So all the guys from the CBA, I think they play with a little passion.

How are you able to be so good at taking care of the ball?

JM: I just play the game. I think playing for Dean Smith you always treasure the ball. He said 'treat the basketball like it's money or your girlfriend.' So you always want to take care of them, so you just take care of the ball.

What's the work ethic like here in Cleveland, compared with some of the other teams you've played with?

JM: It's a tough regimen here. Coach Silas, he puts us through a lot of stuff. In practice we work hard, the drills are really intense. So he's a great coach. He coaches to his team, and that's what good about him.

What are your goals for the year? Are playoffs still a possibility?

JM: Definitely. We want to make the playoffs. And just be the best team we can be, and just finish out good before the All-Star break and then come back and have a strong second half of the season.

Bruce Meyer is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

Tell us what you think about this interview. E-mail us at HoopsHype@HoopsHype.com