The 2014-15 college basketball season is officially under way, and teams are in full preparation mode for the upcoming season. Our Twitter feed was full of teams sharing photos of the guys back on the court, working hard to get ready for the upcoming season and we couldn’t be happier.
In the weeks leading up to the 2014-15 season, we will be reaching out to NCAA coaches, players, and fellow bloggers to discuss different things going on around college hoops. We will look at what people are expecting for the 2014-15 season to get their opinions on a wide variety of topics.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Warren Gillis, a senior guard for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, and a player I have personally become a big fan of within the last year. Gillis is entering his final year with the Chanticleers, and he’s hoping to help lead the team back to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, and to avenge their 2nd Round loss last season at the hands of the Virginia Cavaliers.
We looked at what drew him to South Carolina from his hometown of Philadelphia, his key to success from the free throw line, and I had to ask about their loss to Virginia in last year’s tournament.
Get to know Warren Gillis, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Weight: 205 pounds
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Favourite Food: Buffalo Wings
Favourite Artist: Kanye West
Favourite Athlete Outside of Basketball: Deion Sanders
Biggest Basketball Accomplishment to Date: Big South title/MVP
CCR: First off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me! As a native of Philadelphia, what was it that drew you to go down the coast to attend Coastal Carolina?
WG: The make-up of the roster. I felt that I could fit in right away and help the team, as well as grow into a leadership role by my junior year. Also, being by the beach is not much of a negative.
CCR: The beach must be a nice asset for CCU to use in order to attract talented players to play down south. In each of your first three seasons, your free throw shooting has improved each year. What’s your key to success from the line?
WG: Each year I’ve made a minor change to my form or stance. Eventually, it comes down to focus and confidence while shooting during games.
CCR: Last season, you guys led #1 Virginia at the half in the NCAA Tournament, giving all of us hope that a 16-seed would finally beat a 1-seed, but it wasn’t meant to be in the end. What did you take away from last year’s tournament appearance, and how has it helped you to develop as a player?
WG: The first thing is that you have to play a full 40 minutes. We put together a pretty good 20 minutes, but then we started to deviate from our game plan. Against a team like Virginia, they are going to make you pay for each mistake and that’s what they did.
As for myself, I just try to focus on the fundamentals on everything I do, whether it is shooting form, ball handling, footwork, etc. Then, of course, film work to see what was successful and what was not.
CCR: You guys are predicted by many to win the Big South again this season. Will the predictions and expectations affect you in any way?
WG: Predictions and things are great to get people hyped and interested, but eventually you have to play the game. That is what we are going to do. There most likely will be targets on our back because we did win it last year, but we have to focus on getting better every day and staying the course, the way we did last year.
CCR: Coach Ellis is one of the more successful coaches in NCAA history. What’s it like playing for a coach of his pedigree?
WG: He is great at preparing us for each game and finding the little things that can help us be successful. There is a lot to learn each day.
CCR: In one word, or a few, describe this year’s Coastal Carolina Chanticleers team.
CCR: As a senior, is there anything you want to personally accomplish this season?
WG: There are no personal goals that are on my mind. I am focused on helping this team win and improve.
CCR: Those are all the questions that I have! Warren, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! It means a lot.
WG: No problem!
CCR: Best of luck to you and your teammates this season!
WG: Thank you!
Personally, this was a big interview for me, considering I went down to Coastal Carolina last February to see a Chanticleers game, and Warren was the most impressive player on the floor, for either team. His answer to the question about personal goals stood out to me. Too often do you hear about young kids worrying about personal accolades as opposed to the team as a whole. If more people worried about the team as opposed to themselves, it would make the sporting world that much better!
I would like to thank Warren Gillis once again for answering some questions for me via Twitter. He is a class act, just like most players in the NCAA are. He was kind enough to take an hour out of his day to answer some questions that a kid from Canada had to ask, which goes a long way in my books. I wish Warren and the rest of the Chanticleers nothing but the best of luck on their journey towards repeating as Big South champions!