Andrew Tie, Brian Geisinger and Jim Young were at the ACC's recent Operation Basketball media event, talking to tons of players and coaches. During the course of the preseason, we'll be posting the Q&As they gathered.
Yesterday, we caught up with Duke's Rodney Hood.
Today, we have Boston College's big man Ryan Anderson.
The composition of this team is interesting. You guys have a lot of in-game experience, but you're still a relatively young team, right?
Yeah, we're a young-old team. We have the most combined minutes played together. Like, for example: Lonnie Jackson and Patrick Heckmann - I've played more minutes with those two guys than most players play with most two combinations of players their whole career, and we still have two years left. It's because we've been playing 30 minutes a game since freshman year, and it's just interesting that we're considered an older team, but it's just because of our experience, because of how many minutes we've played - not actually because of our ages. I'm still 20 years old, but I feel like I'm an aged veteran at this point.
You guys will finally get to add Alex Dragicevich - a transfer from Notre Dame who sat out last season - to the rotation. What new dimension does he add to the squad?
Yeah, he can stretch the floor for us with the three-ball, especially - that's his strongest asset he can add to our team. But not only that - his ability as a competitor will help, too. Anytime you bring somebody that competes as hard as Alex does, you're going to become a better basketball team. There are going to be mental mistakes that you make - or you're going to turn the ball over - but when you have a competitor like Alex, it just helps your team out so much. He's going to be a great addition to our team.
During you freshman season, you took 84 three-point shots.
Oh, I've been waiting for this question.
Yeah, your sophomore season, you attempted only 14, though. Are you going to attempt any three-point shots this season - will you take one?
I've incorporated it. My freshman year I was just trying to find my role in the system. Coach Donahue is a large proponent of shooting the basketball, and I was confident in my abilities, but the technique wasn't always there. Then last year resulted in me having to play the five, and the team needed me to be inside a lot more. We can't have five guys shooting threes; you're not going to win a lot of games like that. I had to bite the bullet - so to speak - and go inside. But me moving back - if I play more at the four this year, I don't think it'll be 80 (attempts) and I don't think it'll be 14. So, honestly, I'm thinking about anywhere between 40-50 threes.
You've mentioned having to go between playing the four and the five a lot since you arrived at BC, especially last season when you were forced to play at the center spot out of necessity. What was your comfort level?
I mean, it's never really a sense of comfortable when you're playing in Coach Donahue's system, because he's always changingthings. We're always coming up with new versions of a play - new options, new reads. You're always learning something. So whether I'm playing the four or the five, it's a learning process. I think I did a decent job of adjusting. There's definitely a tougher adjustment going to the five - being my natural position is a four. But I think going into this season if I were to play more five, I will be better suited for it. But at the same time, we brought in guys that can play at the five this year, so I think if I play more at the four, I can play that as well.
Who are those guys who will be playing at the center spot for you guys this season? Dennis Clifford is coming back from injury, right?
Dennis is coming back from knee surgery, so he should be back in about a month - anywhere from November to the first week of December. And we have a freshman from Sweden - William Magarity - that's, like, 6-10, 6-11 that should be able to play some minutes for us - probably 15-20 minutes a game, and help us out in the paint as well.
What's it like being a veteran on the roster and helping younger players matriculate into Coach Donahue's complex - at times - offense?
There are only a couple freshmen that really have to learn - and we help them on a daily basis. That's the job of me and Olivier (Hanlan) - being returning players, being leaders - to help the younger guys get incorporated, faster and faster. Because if they don't pick the basics up now, when (Donahue) throws some wrinkle at us in the middle of a game - and they're in the game - they have to be ready for it. If they don't pick-up the basics, we're going to be some unhappy players if they mess up the plays. It's just an adjustment for them.
This is your third year, and you guys have a lot coming back. I'm talking about more that just bodies, too - you guys have 90+ percent of your scoring, assists and rebounding returning. That - along with this being Coach Donahue's fourth season - is there any pressure, outside of the team, that you guys feel to have a successful season?
Jay Bilas actually came in and talked to us a couple weeks ago, and he kind of spoke on this. You have to have high enough expectations for yourself and be such a close-knit group that whatever people are saying outside doesn't impact the group - whether it's positive or negative. We can't let it affect the group, because with failure and success people are going to say something about it, and you can't really let it get to you or bother you. You know what's true about your team. I think the pressure that we put on ourselves is enough, and it's going to motivate us - we can't really let what other people say effect us.