I graduated from Bishop O'Connell on Thursday. It wasn't too exciting or sad for me. I was just happy that it was finally over. High school has been a long journey. It's been a long four years. So I was mainly looking forward to college and a new chapter in my life. But the ceremony was great - all of the seniors were announced, everybody gave speeches - I enjoyed it. Up until the last minute, I was still making up schoolwork that I had missed from the time I missed for the all-star games. But as far as the exams go, it was very unstressful. I did a good job on those and I'm just happy to finish up well.
This past week, after I graduated, I've gotten a little nervous. Not so much on the basketball part but the part of being a student on a campus. I've never really had that experience and it's going to be a little nerve-racking. The first couple of days we have freshman orientation, but I'm definitely looking forward to it. I believe I'm taking public speaking and economics this summer at UNC. I know I want to major in communications. I think I'm ready for college academically. In the past four years, Bishop O'Connell has definitely pushed me academically and made me work. I know college is going to make me work even harder but I think I'm as prepared as I can be.
In my recent workouts preparing for college, with my strength training I'm focusing on becoming more explosive, more athletic and being able to defend quicker guards and things of that nature. On the court, I'm just trying to make sure I'm ready to run a team. I'm trying to shoot the ball well and get to the next level. I'm doing a lot of plyometrics -- a lot of work on the Vertimax. Vertimax is this square platform that you stand on. You wear a belt and you also strap in these wrist bands so when you try to jump, there's resistance that pulls you back down. I do a lot of reps with that on two-feet jumps, quick jumps, one-foot jumps, things of that nature. I feel like my jumping ability has increased dramatically over the last month. I don't think I've ever measured my vertical but I can tell by the way I'm getting up and dunking the ball a whole lot easier, I can tell that it's working. I'm trying to take advantage of that in this last week before I get down there.
I'm not totally sure but I believe my roommates are going to be Reggie (Bullock), Harrison (Barnes) and John Henson. I haven't gotten to talk to Larry (Drew) much but I'm looking forward to going in and me and him leading this team. He's very crafty with the ball. I think he does a great job of setting teammates up so that's going to help us. I think I do a great job of advancing the ball and getting players in the right position to be successful. I think that's going to help us if one comes in or even if we're both in. Sometimes I know Coach Roy likes to throw two point guards out there where we can both handle the ball. I think we'll be a tremendous two guys to lead this Carolina team and we can both do great things. I think we're going to be great for this team.
I'll be wearing No. 5 at UNC. I was thinking No. 21 but then I thought about it and I heard Dexter was coming off of No. 5. I used to wear No. 5 when I was younger and also I feel a lot of great Carolina point guards have worn No. 5, so I want to follow in that lineage.
I head up to Chapel Hill on Sunday. My expectation is to come in and let the team know that I'm here to work and I'm here to win -- do whatever it takes for us to be a great team. I just want to get adjusted academically and on the court, make sure it's a smooth transition. I know a lot of people go through that freshman phase where they struggle with the adjustment, so my goal is to make it as smooth as possible. I feel like we're all a team but I'm not going to come in and take a back seat. I'm going to come in and be the vocal leader that I know I can be and also lead by my actions. My plan is to get adjusted to the college life -- college workouts, college classes. Mainly I just want to start now with the ending goal of a national championship.
I want to thank all of the Carolina fans out there for taking the time to care about what was going on in my life these last three years. I look forward to sharing many more great memories to come.
THE JOURNEY in PHOTOS...