NEW YORK — Syracuse commit Chris McCullough will play for the West Team in the 2014 Jordan Brand Classic on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Barclay’s Center. We caught up with McCullough at Wednesday’s media session and talked about his upcoming season at Syracuse. Here’s what he had to say:
The Juice Online: What’s your experience been like at the Jordan Brand Classic so far?
Chris McCullough: Last game of my high school career. All American game. It’s good to get out here and play all of my friends that I played back in the day.
TJO: Now that Jerami [Grant] is leaving, you’re in for a bigger role next season.
CM: I’ve got a big role to play, and I have big shoes to fill, especially with CJ [Fair] and Jerami leaving. We have a little bit of a disadvantage, but hopefully we’ll be ready by next year.
TJO: What is the biggest improvement you think you’ll need to make at the next level?
CM: More strength. I need to improve my overall game and become a better overall player.
TJO: What are Syracuse fans going to see from you?
CM: Hopefully they’ll see everything. Dunks. I’m working on my post game, mid-range, 3-pointers, dribbling the ball. You’re going to see a lot of everything.
TJO: When coach [Jim] Boeheim was recruiting you, what did he say about his overall timeline of how long he was going to stay?
CM: He said he saw me as a one-and-done player. He didn’t see me staying here more than two years at most. He said I’d have to put in a lot of hard work, but he was willing to work with me. That’s a good position that I’m in.
TJO: Have you spoken to Tyler [Ennis] or Jerami since they declared for the NBA draft?
CM: Not yet, but I will.
TJO: Do you talk to Kaleb [Joseph] a lot?
CM: Oh yeah. I talk to him everyday. In the classroom, I have to finish up one class, but I’m about 90 percent done so I’ll be finished by Monday, and I’ll be good. He just tells me every night to force myself to do extra work so you can get there, because we need you.
TJO: He’s going to be throwing a lot of lobs to you. Do you guys have any nicknames for yourselves yet?
CM: No, not yet. We’ll see how the season goes and how we practice together. But I’ve played with him a lot of times. We know each other. We’re familiar with each other.
TJO: What are you looking forward to the most at Syracuse?
CM: Just playing there. We’ve got the best fans in the nation, I think. Devin [Booker], he’s going to Kentucky, so he might think different, but I’ve think Cuse has got the best fans.
TJO: When did you visit Syracuse?
CM: I visited in the spring time and in the fall time, so it was around 60 degrees.
TJO: It gets slightly colder than that up there.
CM: I went to school in New Hampshire, so I’m used to it.
TJO: You played for Brewster Academy and then IMG. What was the biggest difference?
CM: IMG is more professional, more organized. They have more healthy food and you work with trainers on a daily basis and I think that was the best part for me.
TJO: So I’ve got some quick hit questions for you. What is your favorite food?
CM: Pork chops. Well done. My Mom makes them the best. She just seasons them good.
TJO: Favorite movie?
CM: Boyz n the Hood.
TJO: What is your favorite non-basketball thing to do? Do you play video games?
CM: I don’t play video games. After I got older, I just stopped.
TJO: You’ll get a chance to play yourself in a video game. That would be pretty cool.
CM: We’ll see. Hopefully, I would like to.
TJO: Do you have any particular song you listen to before games?
CM: No. I just put it on random and let it play.
TJO: Favorite TV show?
CM: ESPN. That’s all I watch is ESPN. Sportscenter. CSI, I watch CSI Miami.
TJO: Favorite basketball player?
CM: Paul George.
TJO: Player you most try to emulate?
CM: A little Rudy Gay and CJ Fair together.
TJO: If you weren’t playing basketball. What sport would you play?
CM: Track. I’m not sure what kind of event, but I get up and down really fast. I’d probably be a good jumper too.
TJO: What has been the highlight of your basketball career?
CM: Just committing to Syracuse.
TJO: So if you had a group of Syracuse fans here now, what would you tell them?
CM: Just be ready for next year. You’re going to see a lot of dunks.
TJO: Thanks for sitting down with me, Chris. Good luck in the Jordan Classic, and also at Syracuse.
CM: No problem. Thanks.Wesley Cheng