J.J. Redick (right), a 6-4, 195 pound shooting guard from Cave Spring H.S. in Roanoke, Va., rebounded from a humbling experience at the Slam Dunk to the Beach in Delaware to lead his team to a victory over Stroud H.S. of Oklahoma.
Redick was among five Cave Spring starters who were yanked from the Knights' previous game at the Slam Dunk, an embarrassing 57-37 loss to Christ the King H.S. of New York.
Redick pumped in 32 points in the win over Stroud, and he spoke with the Insiders Report/Rivalshoops.com about his season this year and his future prospects at Duke.
Here is a transcript of that interview:
IR: It had to be humbling experience against Christ the King, with you and your teammates getting sat down for what your coach considered to be a lackluster performance. Then you bounced back with a strong performance against Stroud. Can you talk a little about the roller-coaster you were on for a couple of days?
JR: We scheduled a lot of tough teams early in the season, and going into today, we were 0-5 against out of state teams. So today was a must win situation for our team, because we needed the confidence. Yesterday was a humbling experience for everybody on our team, not just me, not just the starters, but the coaches and all of the reserves. We had to bounce back today, and we did what we had to do to win.
IR: What was the reaction yesterday -- anger, frustration?
JR: I think it was a lot more frustration. If we were mad at anything, it was the way we played. A lack of effort. We were not mad at coach for taking us out. We deserved it. He told us at half-time that we had two minutes to show him that we wanted it, and we did not show him that we wanted it bad enough.
IR: Coach Hicks said he was disappointed that nobody asked to go back into the game. Is that accurate?
JR: Nobody did ask him. I am not sure anybody thought we would be going back in. It was a lack of communication between us and him. We probably should have taken the initiative and showed that we wanted to go back in. I guess we were kind of waiting on his call.
IR: Was that a lesson for you in some ways?
JR: It is a lesson. To sit out a whole half is a humbling experience. And you have to make something happen from it.
IR: Can you talk a little about playing against Kevin Bookout and his high school team. He's a player you've gotten to know on the Nike circuit, when he played for Athletes First and you played for Boo Williams. Both of you guys are the focal point of your high school teams and how they do.
JR: It was fun to play against him. He's a super guy. We chatted some during the game, just joking around with each other. He had a great game today. We did not have an answer for him on the block, he's just so big and so skilled for his size.
IR: Were you happy with your performance in front of Coach Wojociechowski a couple of days ago here at the Slam Dunk?
JR: Yes, I was. There were a couple of things I could have done better. I missed three free throws and two layups. That really sticks out. But other than that.... I thought I played with more fire today.
IR: In your dialogue with the Duke coaching staff, what are they asking you to work on?
JR: Just continue to be a good leader. That's what they recruited me for -- to be a leader. And I have to improve that everyday with this team. So that next year I can step right in. Not so much as a freshman, learn from Dunleavy, then sophomore year step in and be a leader.
IR: Any particular facets of your game that they want you to work on?
JR: They say I have to get stronger. That's probably the main thing. I don't think I will be handling the ball much with Chris Duhon and Sean Dockery there. So I don't worry about that. Coach K has preached to me about playing good defense, and I think I've improved on that.
IR: Are you making an effort to improve your shooting off the dribble? You seem to be a better off the dribble from short and midrange than from deep.
JR: I work on that a lot and I keep trying to improve on that. Everybody works on catching the ball at the three point line, getting into the lane and pulling up. Nobody really works on catching the ball at the three point line, dribbling around and shooting it.
IR: Of course, with Duhon and Dockery there and if Jason Williams returns, you probably won't have to worry too much about creating your own shot off the dribble...
IR: A few moments ago, I noticed you spoke with Lee Melchionni of Germantown Academy, who is also headed to Duke next year. What kind of things did you talk about?
JR: We just caught up on some things. I asked him how he was doing and who they played. He did not see me play tonight. We've hung out a lot in the past.