JJ Redick: "I'm not going to be a superstar"
How's been life for you since the season ended for Duke?
JJ Redick: I've had the chance to take some time off, but I've also had to go to summer school. And I have been working to stay in shape. Just working on my overall game. You know, a little bit of everything. My ballhandling skills... Just things to stay in shape.
You worked a lot on your conditioning last summer. Is there anything you are looking to work on in particular this summer?
JJR: No, nothing in particular. I've just been working to stay in shape before coming to the trials.
How many shots can you take daily in your offseason workouts?
JJR: It depends. Some days a lot, some days not so many. We use a machine called "The Gun" and you can shoot a lot with that each time. Like 100-150 shots.
Doesn't it get boring, shooting the ball so many times?
JJR: Yes, sometimes. It can get boring sometimes, you can say that.
Have you thought much about the loss against Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament?
JJR: I felt bad about the loss, but I have not dwelled much on that. I think we had a very good season and we overachieved with the group and the talent we had. Michigan State was probably a deeper team, with more talent top to bottom. We lost, but we played hard and did our best. Overall, I think it was a good season for us.
How's been the experience of the trials with the US Team been so far?
JJR: Good. We have a great group of guys, so I'm enjoying it. I haven't shot the ball well so far, but I expect to play better and make the team.
The US Team is not winning gold medals like it used to. Would you be pleased with any other thing that's not the gold medal in the U-21 World Championship?
JJR: I don't think so. But I also think that we have to play at our highest level. There will be very good teams there. We just have to play our best to go down to Argentina and succeed.
Next season will be your last at Duke. What are your goals for the year?
JJR: Goals? The goals I have now are things are out of my control. You know, winning the national championship with Duke. But that's a team thing, it's out of my control. At this point, you set small goals for yourself. You set preseason goals. Play well in the preseason. And when the preseason is over, you set new goals. You go step by step.
Do you feel like you are the favorites to win the NCAA title next season?
JJR: One of the favorites. We'll be one of the 4-5 teams that will be there. There's a lot of talent in college basketball and several teams with a chance. In league (ACC) competition, I guess Boston College will be there. They will be tough. As for the national championship, you have Texas, Michigan State, Connecticut... Villanova too. And Boston College maybe... There are several favorites.
Fans and players from other teams have given you a very hard time during your time in college. Do you expect things to get even worse next season?
JJR: On the road? I'm expecting a lot. But I've learned to deal with that. Fans are hard on me, but I enjoy that and use it to my advantage. I can deal with that. Besides, we'll have a freshman point guard (Greg Paulus) that they will hate a lot too. I think he will be hated as much as me.
You say you enjoy all the pressure fans put on you. But has there ever been any time when you thought, "They crossed the line with this?"
JJR: Well, when you talk about crossing the line, that has to be a personal opinion, because there are really no standards or many rules when you talk about fan behavior. There's been a lot. Probably one of the worst was playing against Maryland in my sophomore season, when they started singing "F*** you, JJ" and all that. That was one of the times I thought: "They crossed the line." But I don't care much about those things. I just play basketball.
Other than playing for Duke, what do you think is the source of all that hate?
JJR: I think it's that, playing for Duke. If I played for other team, probably this wouldn't happen. But playing for Duke... Besides, I'm pretty sure that other players go through similar things in other parts of the country. But playing for Duke and being on TV all the time, it gets worse. And the way I play and the way I am on the court... But you know, I'm a totally different person off the court than I am on the court.
Wally Szczerbiak said last season that white basketball players play with a target on their backs. Do you feel that way too? Do you think race could be a factor?
JJR: No, I don't think... I don't want to get into race and that stuff, really. I don't think race is a factor. I don't feel that way.
Let's talk a little bit about the NBA. Did you ever consider putting your name in the draft this year?
JJR: I didn't really consider that option. Of course, everybody's dream is to play in the NBA. I would like to play in the NBA one day. But my mindset from the start was that I would play in Duke four years and I would return for my senior season.
What do you think when you hear people say your game will not translate well to the next level?
JJR: I know very well that I'm not going to be a superstar at any point on the pros. I'm aware of that. But I think I have some skills that I guess some teams would appreciate. I think I can bring some things to the table that they could find valuable. I just hope that they see that and I'm lucky enough to have a good opportunity to play in the NBA in the future.
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com
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