NEW YORK — James Southerland spoke with us on Wednesday at Big East Media Day inside the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. Here’s what he had to say:
The Juice Online: What does it mean to you for this to be the last season playing in the Big East tournament in Manhattan?
James Southerland: It’s always special at Madison Square Garden. There’s a lot of history in that place. Being that Syracuse is New York’s team, Orange in the Apple, it’s going to be different playing in the ACC next year.
TJO: What is going to be the biggest difference in your game this year?
JS: You’re definitely going to see more of a leader, and more of an impact player. Last year, I felt like I was playing a bit more laid back because we had a lot of players with experience like Kris Joseph and Scoop (Jardine). I was basically trying to fit in. And now, I’m making sure everyone plays their role.
TJO: What do you see your numbers being like this year?
JS: Definitely an increase in all statistics. But, more importantly, being an impact player. Guys are going to be keying on Brandon (Trice), CJ (Fair) and I, so I have to make sure I do everything all around. And being a vocal leader that’s going to get the job done.
TJO: You lost Fab Melo, but you have Rakeem Christmas, Baye Moussa Keita and DaJuan Coleman still left. What do you see from your bigs?
JS: I’m seeing a lot of great things. Even though we lost Fab, a great defensive player, Rakeem, Baye and DaJuan are definitely great guys to have. They’re not established, but they have a lot of talent. We’re going to need those guys down the line.
TJO: Do you see Michael Carter-Williams having a breakout year?
JS: I definitely see Michael Carter-Williams having a breakout year. He saw limited minutes last year, which can make you know not his talent level. He has a high talent level, he’s a 6’5″ long guard, and he can make plays. You’re going to see that this year. He’s going to break out.