With the regular season less than three weeks away, Duke hosted its annual preseason media day. Here are some of the best quotes from Wednesday morning, on everything from the ‘J’s’ to the development of Onome Akinbode-James:
Jayda Adams on helping from the sidelines:
“[I’m] trying to help out in every way I can—trying to be those set of eyes that you can’t see when you’re playing during the game, taking things that the coaches say and helping them out so that everybody knows what’s going on…. I come to practice, I help out, I encourage everybody.”
Head coach Joanne P. McCallie on Onome Akinbode-James’s development:
“Onome [Akinbode-James] has always had an amazing game. She’s a great example of somebody who just said, ‘I want the highest academics, I want the best possible basketball’. Nobody works harder than her. She’s had a tremendous summer…. As freshmen, what Meila [Goodchild] and Onome were exposed to: starting as freshmen, dealing with no point guards and trying to figure it all out, they’re amazing and both of them have come back very strong.”
McCallie on Leaonna Odom:
“She can play every position but 5… She can elevate, she can go past people. We want all those shots. We got a lot of three-point shooters."
McCallie on if she's okay with Odom taking midrange jumpers:
"Oh yeah, am I cool with it? She's got the best riser in the country by far.”
McCallie on maximizing her players’ impacts:
“We’re gonna squeeze, just like orange juice. We’re going to squeeze every little bit out of everybody. Lineups will change, rebounding will be rewarded, defense will be rewarded. We could be dominating a game [and] there could be a different lineup out there. Productivity is the name of the game. You’ll usually see our rebounders…. Everyone needs their opportunity, and everybody can play, so you should see everybody play…. We will play what is best, and we have multiple defenses and we will use them and we will work hard to confuse people.”
McCallie on confusing the four similarly named players (Jaida Patrick, Jada Claude, Jade Williams and Jayda Adams):
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"Listen, I got [Invisalign] this year. It is hard to talk, let alone get those words out. Let’s keep it real. I can barely speak and then I’ve got all these J’s? I’m 54 with braces—check that out."
McCallie on the freshman class:
"We don’t have any freshmen. Jada Claude stayed here all summer, so she’s turning into sophomore status. Jaida Patrick and Azana [Baines] weren’t here for both, but with their game and their mentality, I don’t see us having freshmen. [Jennifer Ezeh], who we don’t have—now that’s missing a player."
Haley Gorecki on whether she gets the 'J’s' confused:
"Yeah, all the time. They’re all spelled differently, too, so it’s funny. In practice, we’ll be like, ‘JC, I mean, JP, come here. One of you, come over here.’"
Akinbode-James on returning the same core from last year’s team
"We took our experience, learned from it and put it into this year…. We returned basically everyone, so we have a lot of that experience and we’re hoping to translate that into this year."
Akinbode-James on the team’s goal this season:
"It’s the same as usual: pursue championships. What team doesn’t want to pursue championships?"