March 12, 2008
“My preparation for a game begins long before the tip-off; long before the pre-game meal and even before our team dinner on the night before a game. I have always believed that I need to prepare both my body and my mind to be at my best on game day. In order to prepare myself, I have always followed a regimen of preparation – or superstitions if that’s what you want to call them.
One of the great traditions that Coach Hamilton has for our team is that we eat a team dinner the night before every game. With our first game in the ACC Tournament coming Thursday against Wake Forest, our team dinner was at a great restaurant – The Cheesecake Factory – here in Charlotte. Eating together not only gives us time to be together as a team off the court but allows us to put fuel in our bodies that we can utilize during the game the next day.
Every night before a game I make sure to drink at least five bottles of water in order to keep myself hydrated. Our trainer, Sam Lunt, has always taught us that preparation the night before a game is just as important as our preparation on game day. After hydrating myself I get a good 10-minute stretch in my room before getting treatment with our training staff.
While I am preparing my body for the game I am also beginning to prepare my mind for our opponent. I begin to visualize the game in my head – especially my individual match-up. For a game against Wake Forest I have two games to think about from the regular season. I have watched a lot of film on our first two games against them so I am going over in my mind what I want to do differently and most importantly better.
Before I go to bed, I talk to my brother Harry for at least 10 minutes. Often times we talk but sometimes we text back and forth. Harry is my best friend and my biggest fan. He is also athlete and right mow he is preparing for the NFL Draft. That’s probably my most important pre-game ritual. He gives his speech to his little brother telling me to play my best and be a leader on the court. Most importantly, he tells me to make sure we win the game.
On the day of the game I continue to take care of my body. When I wake up and go to pre-game meal I eat one banana, one orange and as many pineapple slices that I can.
Before we leave the hotel to go to the gym, I read my bible and give God the glory for every successful thing that will happen to me during the day and in the game. Without him, my success as an individual and our success as a team would never come true. He is always my helper and provider in life.”