Former Syracuse star Josh Pace joined us on The Juice on the Cuse podcast earlier this week to talk about his professional career, his thoughts on the current team and how often he gets compared to CJ Fair. Here are some of the highlights from the podcast.
The Juice Online: You’ve been all over the place in your professional career, including Estonia and New Zealand. Where has been your favorite place to play?
Josh Pace: My favorite place to play so far has been New Zealand. I’m comfortable there and they accept me. They speak English there, and that’s always a plus. I’ve built a career over there. That’s where I first started, actually, and it was the first team [the Nelson Giants] I won a championship with outside of Syracuse. The first team that hired me as a player, and I’m going back to the same team this this year.
TJO: Talk more about your time with the Nelson Giants and the MVP that you won in 2007.
JP: I was in a situation where they basically built the team around me so I was more comfortable. My game got better coming out of college. You have to be a professional when you play overseas. It’s just like any other job. You take it seriously, you get the rewards from it. If you don’t, you lose your job just like any other place. I’ve benefited by taking my career seriously, and I’ve continued to do that to today.
TJO: What do you think of this year’s Syracuse team?
JP: I think it’s a good team. I definitely think they’ve got the chance to make some noise and get to—I think the Final Four is in Atlanta? Especially with the re-acquisition of James Southerland. He had some issues but he got through them. People look at the losses we’ve had recently and they don’t understand that this is still the Big East regardless of whether Syracuse is leaving or not. All of these teams have seen us. They see us every year. They see the zone every year. And it’s tough to win on the road in the Big East. There’s going to be bumps in the road, but I think the important thing is getting it together by the end of the year, and I think this team right here, they have to get the chemistry together. They’ve had some moments but I think they’ll be fine.
TJO: When I see CJ Fair play, I see you. What do you think of him, and do you get that comparison a lot?
JP: I’ve been asked this a lot, actually, the last couple years. I think he’s a better version of me, actually, well, in terms of physically and athleticism. He’s good player. I think he’s going to realize that he’s got to be more aggressive. I know Boeheim has—he has to what’s good for the team, but they’re going to need a little more out of him. We do definitely have a lot of [the same] characteristics but I do think he’s a better version of me. And that’s speaking for myself.
TJO: Tell us how far SU is going in the NCAA tournament this year.
JP: Well of course I’m going to say that they’re going to make it to the championship.Wesley Cheng