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October 16, 2013

K.J. McDaniels

Jordan Roper


JEFF FISCHEL:  Time to talk Clemson Tigers.
Guys, let's talk about where you start this year.¬† K.J., 13‑18 last year.¬† What are the goals for this team?
K.J. McDANIELS:¬† We have a few goals.¬† We have to be a tough team and be there for each other, be more defensive‑minded.¬† I feel like our defense will lead to our offense.
We want to be one of those teams to make it to the NCAA tournament.
JORDAN ROPER:¬† Like he said, be a tough‑minded team, be mentally tough, just playing in March with a chance to advance.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Talk about turning defense into offense.  Is that a focus of coach?
K.J. McDANIELS:  He's a strict coach.  We go out for 35 seconds, try to get out on a break and score.
JORDAN ROPER:¬† Coach wants to instill in us defensive‑minded presence, have that part of our identity as a team.¬† Like K.J. said, it translates into offense, just to be able to get out and run in transition.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Questions.

Q.  We saw your football team up at the dome a few weeks ago.  Can you draw anything off of what they're doing, any inspiration from the season they're having this fall?
JORDAN ROPER:  Yeah, definitely.  Just knowing those guys personally, knowing Tajh and Sammy, knowing the dedication and hard work they've put themselves in this position, to see their success.
Drawing from that, we can put ourselves in that position also by working hard, believing we can be there.  That's where it started, they believed they could be there.
K.J. McDANIELS:  I agree with Jordan.  The football team, they work extremely hard.  I feel like that helps us carry over onto the basketball court.  We try to put ourselves behind them, just feed off what they've been doing.  I believe it will help us out in the future.

Q.  Life without seniors, what has it been like in the early practices?  Strange situation?
K.J. McDANIELS:  Life without seniors has been a challenge for us because us as younger guys, we have no one really to look up to.  We go to each other for advice.  We all just help each other out, try to be there for each other.
We have different leaders on the team, I believe.  I believe it will help us as a team and build more chemistry.
JORDAN ROPER:  Like K.J. said, we don't have, per se, someone to look up to that's been in situations before.  We have a lot of guys on the team that have some experience, like myself and K.J. and Rod Hall.  Everybody has a steak in leadership.
Just the trip to Italy, us building a closer bond, that will help us all together through tough times.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You have Devin Booker, Milton Jennings.  That can be tough to replace.
JORDAN ROPER:  Yeah, it can be tough to replace.  We have a new focus.  We have a renewed focus.  We're not worried about last year.  We have to take last year's experiences and learn from them, have it translate on the court this year.
JEFF FISCHEL:  K.J., what is it like knowing you have to step up more down low?
K.J. McDANIELS:  It's a motivation for me.  People say it's pressure, but I don't see any pressure at all.  I have extreme confidence in my teammates.  I believe, like, we'll all put in great work and be able to do great things.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You led the ACC in blocked shots last year.  Not bad for a guy who is 6'6".
K.J. McDANIELS:  It was an honor to do that.  I think that just shows how hard I like to go out there and play, just have my teammates' back.  Being there for them is the most important part.  Leading the team by example, that's a great way to start it.

Q.  K.J., the inside guys are untested.  How much of a rebounding burden do you think you'll feel early on?
K.J. McDANIELS:  I feel like our new guys there, they're learning.  We just tell them to go out there and play as hard as they can, do what they're good at.
I feel like they take that and they learn.  They do it every day consistently.  I think it will carry over into the game.  It won't be as much of a burden.

Q.  Jordan, you guys are growing.  The ACC brings in Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame.  Do they just want to pile on more hardship?  What challenge do these new faces present to your team?
JEFF FISCHEL:  K.J., start talking about how much tougher the ACC is.
K.J. McDANIELS:  I feel like those teams are going to bring a great toughness to the ACC.  It's an honor to have them in there.  We're excited to play all of them.
JORDAN ROPER:  It brings a new challenge to the season.  Just those different styles of team, different styles of play, it will be a new challenge.  We have a renewed focus.  We're looking to gain experience from what we learned last year in the games this year.
We're ready to compete.  We don't believe we can't compete.  We don't show up not to compete.  We're ready to come play.  We're not afraid to play against those teams.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You could be traveling to Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame.  Is there a particular place you'd like to check out?
JORDAN ROPER:  I think it would be cool to go to Syracuse, the Carrier Dome.  History with Carmelo Anthony.
K.J. McDANIELS:  I'm looking forward to going to Syracuse, it will be fun to go there.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Has coach given you a specific goal with wins?
K.J. McDANIELS:  We just have to go out there and play for each other, be there for each other.  I feel like our Italy trip helped us out a lot.
He hasn't given us a particular how many wins.  We just know we're going to go out there and play as hard as we can and do what we have to do for each other, just go timeout there and play our hearts out.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Jordan, what was your favorite part of going to Italy?
JORDAN ROPER:  I loved Rome.  Rome had several sites.  The site I loved the most was the Vatican, all the art inside.
K.J. McDANIELS:  I liked Rome.  I liked the Coliseum, seeing different movies, 300, Gladiator.  It was amazing to be in that stadium.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Good luck this season.  Thank you.

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