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October 29, 2014

Wayne Blackshear

Montrezl Harrell


Q. テつWayne, what have you done from last season to this season in your workouts to get better?テつ What are some of those areas you wanted to improve on, and what have you done to improve?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ You know, basically trying to get my body back in shape, slim down a little bit, but the main thing I really focused on was my ball handling; trying to create a lot more for my teammates and get involved on the floor a lot more.

Q.テつ As far as this being the first time in the ACC for Louisville, what can you say about some of your opponents, some of them that you know very well?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ Yeah, you know, obviously from the Big East we played Syracuse and Notre Dame and Pitt, so we're kind of familiar with those guys.テつ Well, some of us, me and Montrezl‑‑ and going into the ACC, we know it's going to be tough every game.テつ We know what's ahead of us, and we know what we have to do.

Q.テつ What excites you most about getting to play in a new conference like the ACC?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ You know, everything.テつ You've got a lot of teams, Hall‑of‑Fame coaches, top prospects that go to the NBA.テつ You can only be excited to play against those guys and just compete.テつ I mean, it'll bring the best out of you and your game.

Q.テつ You guys have been great.テつ Do you feel like this team can maintain what Louisville has been about the last few years?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ I don't think we're going to take a drop.テつ I think we can be a great team.テつ I know we have a new team with six freshmen that's coming in, and we've got some veteran guys that have been through all the wars almost.テつ I think if we just keep teaching our freshmen and listening to Coach, I think we'll be fine.

Q.テつ Coach talked about the type of schedule.テつ Your first loss last year was against North Carolina.テつ Now that you're in that league, does that sort of resonate with you?テつ Is there any carry‑over from the first part of last year as you think about getting into the ACC schedule?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ Definitely we got our first taste against those guys, and we really do want to play them again, but we know they're not the only team in that conference that you have to worry about.テつ We really know what's ahead of us this year, and we have to stay focused and really know what games we're going into and just stick to scouting reports and everything.

Q.テつ How does being in a conference with so much talent and where games are so tough, how does that help you get set for the NCAA Tournament and tournaments down the stretch of the season?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ You know, just going in night in and night out, competing with other teams and games coming down to the wire, you know, it really shows how tough your team is.テつ That's how the Tournament is going to be, except if you lose, you're out.
I think these games can prepare us in a lot of different ways and just get us better.

Q.テつ What do you need to do to get better personally?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ You know, obviously Coach made me the captain.テつ I think I need to be more vocal and just be out there and just be more active on the court to try to help my team out.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Montrezl?

Q.テつ Montrezl, this is a little bit of a different animal for you to be joining the ACC.テつ What does it mean to be playing the big teams from your home state?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ I can honestly say it's going to be very special this year being in the ACC, but we've really been in three different conferences in the past three years.テつ Making this conference jump is really nothing new to us, but we know that coming into the ACC, that we've got to be ready to play.テつ We've got to be ready on any given night because we know this conference is a real powerhouse conference, and on any given night you can get beat.

Q.テつ You've played in tons of big places and huge stadiums and storied places already.テつ Is there anything uniquely special to you about looking forward to getting a chance to play against the Carolinas and the Dukes and the ACC Tournament and thing like this?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ Honestly, I'm looking forward to our whole schedule.テつ Our first game we actually start off playing in Puerto Rico against Minnesota.テつ So I honestly can say from our opening start, our schedule is going to be exciting.
We've got to be ready to play from our opening tip.テつ This is not the conference we was in last year where we had 30‑to‑40‑point blowout wins.テつ We know it's not going to be like that in this conference.

Q.テつ Montrezl, sitting here as opposed to getting ready for an NBA game, looking back on your decision to stay, what can you say about being a Cardinal again?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ I honestly feel I made a great decision.テつ I was kind of back and forth with what decision I was going to make, and I can honestly say about me coming back to school, getting another year of experience under my belt, playing under Coach P again, I can honestly say it's going to help me out a lot in the long run.テつ I feel like it's going to prepare me for what's at stake going into the NBA.

Q.テつ One of your teammates said the ACC looks a little bit like the Big East to you because of the opponents you faced there, what can you say about the ACC and the challenge you'll have of being in another conference now?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ I can honestly say I agree with him to the full extent.テつ It feels like a remake of the Big East with all the powerhouse teams in this conference.テつ You really can't look so much past so many‑‑ you really can't look past any teams in this conference, like I said, because there's a lot of great teams in this conference, and we know we're going to have a lot of tough games.テつ We know that we have a lot of young pieces on our team, and we've really got to get prepared and really be ready to play.

Q.テつ You mentioned that you made the right decision staying another year.テつ How do you think your game will evolve during this year in hopes of making the jump to the NBA next year?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ I think my game is going to evolve a lot.テつ I've added a lot of different things to my game that I didn't have, first coming into college.テつ I feel like I've really taken this summer to really get better with my ball handling and being able to shoot the ball more consistently.テつ I can honestly say there's a lot of different small things that I've added to my game that's going to make me a better player but also make our team better.

Q.テつ How does a young man who probably spent your childhood watching ACC basketball on TV wind up at Louisville?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ My transition into Louisville was kind of crazy.テつ Coming out of high school I really wasn't heavily recruited like that by any big teams, either in North Carolina or outside of it honestly.テつ And when I made my choice my senior year to go to Hargrave Military Academy, I was already committed to go to Virginia Tech at that point in time.テつ And when Coach Greenberg ended up getting fired and they didn't really give a reason as so why he was fired, I felt like if I'm going to go to a school where it's a brand new coach, why not start fresh?
So I ended up getting my letter of intent back and reopened my recruiting, and that's when I started getting recruited heavily by a lot of North Carolina teams.テつ But I just looked at the roster and just looked at all the teams and the key pieces that they had, and I really felt that Louisville was a better choice for me.テつ I went up there and took a visit, and I kind of felt the same way I did when I went to Virginia Tech.テつ I kind of felt like it was a home away from home.

Q.テつ With that said, having been not looked at by a lot of these schools, does that mean you're extra motivated to play these schools this year?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ I mean, you can say that, but I mean, I'm motivated every game to play because I go out on the court and give it my all every possession, every game.テつ I don't take off any game because of the team that we're playing.テつ You can't play down to the level of your competition, no matter who it is.テつ I'm looking to play every team and just get out there, honestly.

Q.テつ What do you really like about this team this year?
MONTREZL HARRELL:テつ You know, I really feel that this team has a chance to be special.テつ Even though we have a lot of younger guys on our team.テつ I feel like that they're willing to work.テつ They're willing to get better.テつ We still have a lot of core key group of guys who have been to the Final Fours, to the National Championships, and I feel like if these guys really buy into the Louisville way that Coach P wants us to do, then we really have a chance to be special this year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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