On Thursday at Big Ten Media day in Washington D.C., Senior forward Sanjay Lumpkin and Junior guard Bryant McIntosh sat down with Dave Revsine and Jon Crispin of the Big Ten Network to talk about the Wildcats upcoming season.
-McIntosh was left off the list for the Big 10’s pre-season honors, prompting many in NU basketball circles to claim that his talents are under-appreciated both around the Big Ten and nationally. The Wildcats’ point guard says he knows exactly why. “I think that comes with winning. We won more last year obviously, but we have to build on that this year. Personally I don’t get too worked up about (being recognized) though. I can fly under the radar and be just alright with that.”
-The junior is also clearly excited about the way the team is looking heading into the season, and thinks a couple of factors have them poised to compete at a higher level than ever before. “I think we have more depth than we’ve ever had since I’ve been on campus and I think we’ve learned how to handle any adversity that you could possibly throw at us now.” Both he and Lumpkin added that, although the team is built for increased success, they still need to show they can win close games to accomplish anything big.
-As a fifth-year senior and team captain, Lumpkin knows that what he can provide for his teammates extends far beyond his play on the court. “It’s easy for me to lead these guys, I have a voice that guys will listen to and a voice that resonates through the locker room and I know what I need to do.”
-One thing that McIntosh will be missing this year for the first time in his college career is the presence of Alex Olah. However, he recognizes the ability and necessity of sophomore center Dererk Pardon being able to emulate some of the elements that Olah brought to the court. “One thing we’ve stressed to (Dererk) that Olah was really good at is that rollout shot right at the baseline... We’ve been pumping him with confidence, saying ‘hey, we want you to shoot that shot, that’s a shot we need you to take and need you to make.’”
-Lumpkin sung the praises of freshman point guard Isiah Brown when asked about how the Wildcats were going to replace the scoring and shot creation of departed guard Tre Demps. “He’s shown flashes of things that Tre has done. I played with Tre for years and I’ve seen flashes of his playmaking ability in Isaiah and I think he could fill that role.”
-McIntosh sees the problem of replacing Demps offensively as one that can be solved by committee, but did single out Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey as returning players that the team was hoping could take on a greater offensive role. “Having those two guys mature and grow up (is important). Their gonna have to be aggressive for us and put the ball in the basket for us. Guys are going to learn how to defend them so it’ll be about making counters and learning to pick their spots.”
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