Averaging 7.5 points
per game to go with his team-leading 43 assists and 21 steals, sophomore point
guard James McCann has developed into one of the key components on the 2011-12
UC San Diego Men's Basketball team. Fifth-year Head Coach Chris Carlson is
quick to sing the praises of the local product out of La Costa Canyon High
School in Carlsbad. "James is a great floor leader and continues to grow and
get better," says Carlson. "He has turned himself into a very effective player
in our league and we expect great things from him in the future." With the CCAA
season nearing its midpoint, McCann took time to discuss his playing style,
this year's Triton team and some of his off-court interests.
you're middle-of-the-road in the general population, but in the basketball
environment, you're typically the shortest player on the court. What's that
usually not going to be able to use my height as an advantage against my
opponent so I have learned other ways to be successful. I use my quickness, basketball
IQ, coordination etc. to be successful on the court.
what ways, if any, have you found your height to be an advantage?
a lot of people underestimating me, my height helps me to be more shifty and
elusive by being lower than the man guarding me.
Q-You've shown no fear driving the lane.
What is your thought process and what are you trying to do when you get into
the paint against some of the big front lines in the CCAA?
thought when I get into the lane is how can I score. More often than not though
I am able to draw two or more defenders and find an open man, so I am always
keeping my eyes open for any option.
Q-What kind of
responsibilities does Coach Chris Carlson expect his point guard to manage?
expects me to be a guy he can depend on as an extension of the coach and a
leader on the floor. Some of my responsibilities are to take care of the ball,
initiate our offense, defend, and make plays for others as well as myself.
Q-Along with doing
the majority of the ballhandling typically comes the expectation of being a
team leader. Is that a role you're comfortable with and how have you grown into
that at UCSD?
definitely a role I am comfortable with because it has been my responsibility
since I started playing basketball. It is one of the most important
responsibilities a point guard has. Since I arrived at UCSD not much has
changed for me since high school in terms of being relied on heavily as a
Q-In what area do you
feel you've made the most progress between your freshman and sophomore seasons?
just having a year to learn the differences between the high school and college
game has helped me the most. I've become smarter and better at being able to
make adjustments depending on how other teams are playing.
Q-Talk about where
your team is at this point in the season and where you think it can be by the
end of the year.
McCANN-We are 5-6
right now and struggling a bit as of late but in no way am I discouraged. We
have been practicing and playing really hard, we just need to tighten up a few
technical things. Our goals haven't changed at all since the start of the
season and I fully believe we are going to have a successful finish.
Q-When this team
needs a big bucket, who is the guy you're looking for? Who's the most physical
player on the team? Who's the team comedian, the player who keeps things light
and relaxed in the locker room?
McCANN-We have a
lot of guys that can score so I wouldn't say I'm necessarily looking for a
certain guy, more along the lines of whoever is hot at the time. I'd have to
say (Justin) Brue is the most
physical guy on our team because often times he is going against guys with a
couple inches on him yet he does more than hold his own. Tyler (McGrath),
Mackenzie (McCullough) and I all have lockers next to each other and are
usually the ones trying to keep the mood light in the locker room.
Q-Your back-up is
Matt Bailey, another sophomore, who also plays significant minutes. How do your
games differ and how do the two of you help each other?
McCANN- If Brue
is the most physical guy then Matt isn't far behind. He uses his strength both
offensively and defensively to his advantage. I can't usually out muscle my
opponent like he can so I have to make better use of angles on the court. I
think just competing in practice every day with Matt has really helped me
develop as a player, and I'm hoping that I've done the same for him.
Q-What's it like
playing for Coach Carlson? What makes him different from other coaches you've
played under? What's his "go to" coaching cliché?
been very important to my development as a player since I arrived here at UCSD
and I've really enjoyed playing for him. He really stresses the defensive side
of the ball, which is an area where I think I have greatly improved. I also
really like how he is always trying to help his players off the court as well
as on the court.
One of his most famous "go to" coaching clichés is when he makes a questionable
call during practice his only response is "life on the road."
Q-You have two older
sisters who both played collegiate soccer. Was soccer part of your upbringing
and how did you end up playing basketball?
a huge part of my upbringing. Not only did I attend countless number of games
but I also started playing at a very young age. I played for a nearby club
program called Surf since about age seven and stopped playing my freshman year
of high school. I only started playing basketball in seventh grade and been in
love ever since. Because soccer and basketball are in the same season in high
school I chose to stick with basketball, but who knows maybe I can use a fifth
year to try and play for Coach Pascale at UCSD?
Q-Who do you consider
the top three point guards in the NBA today? What do you admire about each?
McCANN-I think I
would go with Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Derrick Rose (spoken like a true
Boston hater). Each of them are successful in different ways but are similar in
that they all have complete control over their respective teams and are the
ones making big plays when their team needs one.
Q-You've listed the
L.A. Lakers and San Diego Chargers as two of your favorite professional teams.
How would you analyze the latest moves by both teams?
a bit rough lately because both teams have struggled: the Lakers getting swept
by Dallas and the Chargers missing out on the playoffs. I would say that both
franchises need to make significant moves to become championship contenders.
Q-Outside of sports,
what do you enjoy doing with your free time?
being around the beach when I am not in the gym. I grew up here in San Diego so
I have been around it my whole life. I also really like to travel and hope to
do more of it when I graduate.
Q-You're an economics
major and although you still have another two years-plus before graduation
comes around, have you given any thought to career options at this point?
still a little far off for me so I haven't put much thought into it. I think
business school may be an option.
Q-This is still a very
young UCSD roster. Given that, what would you like to see the team accomplish
this year and what do you hope to have on your basketball resume when your
collegiate career is completed?
still pretty young but I think we do have experience so there is no limit to
what we can do this year. I believe we are going to make a run into the
tourney. It's too early for me to be thinking about the end of my career. Right
now I am just focused on winning.
Previous Q & A Articles
Emily Osga (Women's Basketball) December 19, 2011
John Butler (Men's Water Polo) November 28, 2011
Lauren Demos (Women's Volleyball) November 8, 2011
Cory Wolfrom (Men's Soccer) October 26, 2011
Ellen Wilson (Women's Soccer) October 1, 2011
Brian Donohoe (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2011
Roxanne Brunsting (Women's Volleyball) August 19, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Vincent Nguyen (Tennis) July 1, 2011
Patti Gerckens (Softball) May 26, 2011
Blake Tagmyer (Baseball) May 11, 2011
Theresa Richards (Women's Track & Field) April 27, 2011
Austin West (Men's Tennis) April 17, 2011
Drew Lawyer (Men's Crew) April 11, 2011
Keith Okasaki (Men's Golf) March 26, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Hanalei Crowell (Women's Water Polo) March 5, 2011
Camille Gaito (Softball) February 23, 2011
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Christine Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009