Road Trip to Carolina
Posted by Justin on January 10, 2014
Being in North Carolina for the HighSchoolOT Holiday Invitational was a fantastic experience. My team went 2-1 and I can definitely tell we're starting to improve. We started off the season losing a few games that we should have won.
There's a different mindset there now, though. It's all business when we step on the court and that's a big difference from where we were in November.
The crowds at the tournament were great. That kind of environment and energy is something many of my teammates probably won't be able to feel again. As for me, individually, it was fun going back to the area I'll play at in college. It was incredible to see all the support I have from Tar Heel nation when I haven't even put on a North Carolina uniform yet.
I thought I played pretty well, for the most part, but wish we could've finished 3-0 instead of 2-1. Our only loss came to Trinity Christian. They had a player, Junior Smith, who had an amazing game against us. He's a good player.
After we left the tournament, my family and I spent some time with Coach Williams and Coach Robinson. They're such great men; they signed autographs for many of the players on our team.
We all watched about 30 minutes of Carolina's practice that day and it was a really cool deal for my teammates. I've been to a couple before, but for my teammates to be able to see that, meant a lot to me and to them. They were taking pictures, excited to see the Carolina players and were carefully watching how they go through practice and the different kinds of things they do.
As for practice itself, it was much different from the one I attended the day after Late Night with Roy in October. I mean, you always go hard in a college practice. That's not debatable. But there were a lot more plays being run and a lot of skill work being done. They had a game in two days, so it was more of a game-planning practice than anything. In October, there was more competitive stuff, they were getting up and down the floor and working more on the fast break.
After our trip to North Carolina, we had a nice break as a family before getting back into the swing of things for the New Year. One thing we try not to miss, though, are UNC games. They are always a fun experience around our household.
My mom has an app on her phone that, 50 minutes prior to every game, sounds an alarm every 10 minutes until tip off. If we're home, we're usually all sitting down on the couch watching together. On Wednesday against Miami, I had to finish up a test and then we all went to watch.
Since I'm not there yet, I still kind of watch as a fan and kind of watch as a player. I'm looking to see where I could fit in, and if I would able to do some of the things guys at my position are doing.
My family is mostly jumping up and down, just excited about the game, especially my little brother and sisters. My parents do try and look at little things, telling me what I can work on and how I can contribute but, again, they're just really excited to watch the game.
Finally, a bit of news. If you didn't know already I was nominated to participate in this year's McDonald's All-American game. I don't know if I'll make it, but I'm hopeful. It's humbling and I'm thankful, but it all goes back to God. He's allowed me to have this kind of success and I couldn't be more pleased to have this honor.
Talk to you soon.
Nov. 13, 2013 - Signing Day
Oct. 15, 2013 - Home-Schooled
Sept. 3, 2013 - Summer 'Vacation'
June 6, 2013 - Gaining A Future Teammate
April 17, 2013 - AAU Ball
April 1, 2013 - UNC Basketball Camp
March 13, 2013 - My First Week As A Tar Heel