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Q&A with Julian Gamble (Part II)

Two weeks ago, I caught up with University of Miami redshirt freshman big man Julian Gamble after he participated in a basketball/religious venture to Africa with Athletes in Action. On Wednesday, I posted the details of his 13-day trip overseas where Julian said he had a life-changing experience meeting orphans, a fun time playing international basketball and much more (Q&A Part I).

In this second part of my interview with Julian, we got a chance to talk about his rough upbringing in North Carolina. He told me how his single mother struggled to raise him and his older sister and brother and how he himself struggled, attending 14 different schools from the time he started kindergarten until he graduated. Gamble, who didn't really become a hot commodity until his junior year of high school, told me he was more than happy to accept a scholarship from Miami and says being a Cane is a dream come true. He said he passed on offers from Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee because of the bond he built with coach Frank Haith, another Carolina guy, who was able to convince him UM's basketball program was headed in the right direction. The following is the rest of what he and I talked about.

Q: Who was the first person to put a basketball in your hands and when did you first start playing?
A: When I was smaller, I’d have to say it was my father. Just watching TV and during the time Michael JgambleJordan and all those guys like that were playing. I just watched basketball, that’s pretty much how I spent all my time with my dad. He took me out to the court one day. He never seriously played basketball. He always would mess around though. And then I went out there shooting and I fell in love with the game. At first it was all about spending time with my father, but as time progressed I just really found the love for the game. I didn’t get serious or start thinking about going to college until around 10th grade maybe. I was a late bloomer. I really didn’t come around until my 11th grade year. That’s when I started getting my offers and things like that. In my 10th grade year, I had a lot of mid-major offers.

Q: When did you go through your big growth spurt?
A: In eighth grade I was 6-1. By the time I was in ninth I may have been 6-4. From the 9th to 10th, I grew up two more inches. I’ve grown up a little bit since I got here.

Q: How tall are you now?
A: I’m not even sure. The last time I measured I was 6-9. But just from talking to my teammates and stuff today they say I’ve grown. I might be 6-9 or 6-10.

FrankhaithQ: What have you learned about college basketball since you’ve been here?
A: My first impression of coming here and seeing practice and seeing the game, it’s much, much faster than in high school. That was my first adaptation to make. My first impression was the energy level. In high school, the best players would just take the game over. Some teams might play good defense. But in college, everybody can do every thing. It’s not like anybody can step in and average 20 points a game. I think I’ve improved majorly from just working with coach Mac and working with my teammates and talking to coach Haith and things like that.

Q: Where have you improved or need improvement?
A: One area I need to improve is my strength and my conditioning. Those are two areas I’m looking to improve on in this offseason right here. Also, my defense – its something that would keep me on the court and give me opportunities to play. I’m not the type of guy to get stats or whatever. I just want to help the team. I want to help the team win. That’s the role I play.

Q: I know coach said you’ve lost a lot of weight and toned up. Now, it’s time to brag about what you’ve done.
A: I’ve lost around 25 pounds since I got here. I was 265 when I came in. I was 239 when I weighed myself now. I’m definitely going to pick up some weight though, lifting in this offseason, muscle, things like that. But I lost a lot of fat, nearly 30 pounds of it. I feel like a new man. The biggest difference is my quickness, my jumping, my all around game is just a lot more easier when I’m lighter. Being as tall as I am, my knees hurt when I’m heavier. Now that I’m lighter my knee pains aren’t present or a major issue like I was before.

Q: A lot has obviously changed since the day you accepted a scholarship to Miami. This team has gone from last place in the ACC to the second round of the NCAA tournament in one year and now some experts are saying you guys are a Top 10 team. What’s changed from your perspective?
A: From my personal perspective when I was first getting recruiting, coach Haith was telling me he was Ummens_hoops going to change the face of the program. I had faith in him. I knew people who knew coach Haith being from Carolina and they said he was a man of his word. I didn’t need to hear much else because I believed in him. Being here and going through last season and seeing exactly what he said would happen, it was really good. It’s just making everyone around the nation see we’re trying to work toward being a force for a long time coming. It’s all about hardwork. It’s not as if somebody says were going to be good and its over. It always about hard work for us and progress.

Q: That being said, expectations are going to be different next season. The pressure is going to be different now that you guys are where you are. How do you think the guys are going to handle the preseason hype?
A: I don’t think its going to change at all. It just kind of shows our hardwork has paid off. But at the same time we’re a humble group of individuals. We’re not the type of people if the spotlight is on us we’re going to walk around and not see people for what they are. We’re people like everybody else. Just because we won 20 games doesn’t mean we’re going to walk around here like we don’t know anybody. We’re still going to be the same people and I feel we’re going to approach things like we did before with that hard work ethic and the desire to want to improve. I don’t think because the spotlight is on us, we’re going to relax. That’s all the more reason to work even harder because people are going to be coming at us even harder. That hardwork mentality is going to stick no matter how bright that light gets.

Q: Are the guys excited by those expectations? ESPN's Andy Katz has you guys ranked eighth in his preseason poll. Also, you’re playing at Kentucky and at home against Ohio State. Is there a lot more excitement in general?
Mcclintondribble A: Of course we’re excited because these are things outside of playing basketball these are things we dream of, playing in the big games, playing at Kentucky and things like that. So, there is a level of excitement. But at the same time, this is a very large task we have to tackle so we have to work that much harder to be able to accomplish that goal. We just don’t want to go to Kentucky to say we played them. We don’t want to play Ohio State to say we played them. We’re trying to win those games. So, in order to win those games, we got to work hard to put ourselves in position to do that.

Q: When is that you guys will start working with coaches again?
A: We’re not with the coaches, but I myself will call the coach and ask them what type of things I need to work on. They’ll describe the drill and I’ll go and work on it myself. It’s all about being with our strength coach, lifting weights. We’re trying to prepare ourselves as much as we can. I want to have myself ready so I won’t have to go back and do any work I should have done already. We haven’t had a workout where everybody was together. People have been going back home and things like that. We won’t really have our full workout until I think the 30th of June -- the Monday after Summer [Session 2]. I think its going to be a level of excitement. I mean the truth is, we’re all men, but we miss our boys. We have a lot of fun together. So, it’s not like when we see everybody , “OK, your back.’ That will be our prime moment to get together and work hard. When the whole team gets back together there is going to be focus because we know this is going to be a big year for us.

Q: Talk about your role this year. Ray Hicks, Anthony King are gone. Coach talked a lot about you being that reliable post option that Anthony was. How do you see yourself in the mix with Jimmy Graham, Dwayne Collins and Cyrus McGowan?
JimmygrahamA: I think for the most part it will be a rotation like it was last year. With Jimmy being a senior, Cyrus being a junior and Dwayne being a junior, I’m going to be learning from them more than anything else. If worse comes to worse, I’ll defer to them because it’s going to be my first turn around. I think the rotation will be in that two in and two out we did last year. It’s really going to be great because all four of us bring different things to the table that will be helpful to the team. I got full confidence in coach Haith. He knows what we do well and how we’ll play well together for the better of the team.

Q: I think most people would consider you more of a true center type prospect than those other guys who are more like natural power forward. Do you see yourself as a center?
A: I don’t want to say I’m going to be Anthony King’s replacement or I’m going to do what King did as a player over his career. It’s extremely difficult to replace a guy like him not only as a player, but off the court with his leadership and everything. My role this year will be trying to be as reliable a post player as possible, doing what I can do to help the team like grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and taking charges so we win. I know we have a tremendous talent level. I don’t have to be one of the people to score points. We got a lot of people that can score points. I know I can do the small things and try to help them out.

Comments

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"how many will graduate?"

THE ODDS ARE IN FAVOR OF THOSE WHO QUALIFY

"Univ of Miami is not for the masses"

ATTEND A HOME GAME & COUNT THE EMPTY SEATS

"Do you really think they are going to highlight a major city against small college towns." - Canesjunkie

POST, THINK, THEN INSERT FOOT

As a finalist, Gainesville joins pretty heady company. The list, which features several pro, college and even high-school sports towns, includes Boston; Chicago; Green Bay, Wis.; Louisville, Ky.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Detroit; Williamsport, Pa.; New York; Los Angeles; Columbus, Ohio; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; San Francisco; Pittsburgh; Valdosta, Ga.; Massillon, Ohio; Parkersburg, W.Va.; Palo Alto, Calif., and Lawrence, Kan.

"it would make every other town look stupid" - Canesjunkie

OR IN HINDSIGHT, THE FANS OF DUHHH U WHO HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT

"made for TV ..." - puke green

Can you smell what Pebbles has got cooking?

BIG SCREEN

"U turn on TVs ..." because they are too damn cheap to attend their home games in person.

DEMOLITION CREW

I'm a UM season ticket holder, and there are lots of empty seats. There are a lot of fare-weather fans in Miami, but you should also consider there are a ton of other things to do here. This accounts for all of the empty seats. Most people in Miami aren't going to get up and tailgate the morning of a UM game. Most people between in the 20-30 range aren't even out of bed by noon...those make it out before noon are usually doing a watersport, cycling etc....

Don't take ESPN's selection of Gainseville as a slight on Miami and its fan base. There are too many other factors to consider. Gainsville, is a nice college town. Some of the other place named are also very nice....they are not like Miami. Joe six-pack (ESPN's audience) isn't interested in knowing anything about Miami.

"Some of the other place named are also very nice....they are not like Miami." - Canesjunkie

HOP ON THE SPECIAL BUS

"Don't take ESPN's selection of Gainseville as a slight on Miami and its fan base." - Canesjunkie

Considering how much U like to brag about your championship records that are ancient history, ESPN dissed you for a reason.

It's no where close to a TITLETOWN in the eyes of those in the know. Now if it were a THUGTOWN contest, there wouldn't even be a competition. Duhhhh U wins it, hands down.

MIAMI SUX

what's to do in gainesville besides attend a football game?

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE

http://hurricanesports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/110607aah.html
consistent winning, night games, sexy opponents draw a crowd ...
in 2002, U averaged 69,539 ...
CURE FOR WHAT AILS U

Considering how much U like to brag about your championship records that are ancient history, ESPN dissed you for a reason.
It's no where close to a TITLETOWN in the eyes of those in the know.

Posted by: canesrule | July 02, 2008 at 02:48 PM
a gimmick to seduce rubes like you ...
sophisticates roll their eyes ...

CAPRICIOUS & ARBITRARY

There were maybe 300 people left in the stands at the end of the Virginia BLOWOUT. What a pathetic editorial on the sad state of the UM football program.

UVA 48

UM ZIP

Shut your hole cane fan. Your team QUIT in the final game at the OB.

PATHETIC !!!!!

Canesrule...

We don't care what ESPN thinks. Did you really compare Green Bay to Miami? They are totally different places...

Maybe you're coming to the wrong blog...here's a link to the UF one. Why don't you go comment on Tebow handling a little boy's penis or whatever you guys have going on.

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gator_clause/2008/06/jeffrey-demps-o.html

"consistent winning, night games, sexy opponents draw a crowd" - grinch who stole the W's

consistent losing (12-13), Thursday night games, mediocre ACC opponents.

CAUSE OF SICKNESS

"a gimmick to seduce rubes like you" - ganggrene

TITLETOWN ENVY

"Do you really think they are going to highlight a major city against small college towns." - when idiots talk Canes listen

"Did you really compare Green Bay to Miami? They are totally different places." - Crackjunkie

THANKS CAPT. OBLIVIOUS

That's the top 20 list of potential Title Towns directly from ESPN and Miami did not make the cut. Not even with using the Phins as their crutch (again).

Not having a winning regular season two years straight will cause more side effects than nausea and diarrhea. Watch out for no respect and random firings, as they are soon to follow.

New York and Los Angeles interject.....

WE'RE SPECIAL TOO

Cokdrool, oops I meant canesrule,

Quit hatin'. For the 1st time in 30 years it seems like the UF gahoz have a better football program & you don't know how to act. You're a undercover fan of da "U". Come out of the closet.

It's strange you know so much about da "U". Learning so much about our decorated legacy turns you on don't it.

You probably caught a man crush for McGahee the last time we was in the swamp, stompin' a mudhole in that softness yall put on the field up there. WHAT YOU TALKIN' BOUT WILLIS???

All the beatdowns we've recieved recently & none of'em was given by them gayhoz. Yeah FSU, Virginia, Clemson, VaTech, GaTech, Oklahoma, UNC & others can brag about whippin' us recently. NOT THE UF GAHOZ! IT'S BEEN 21 YEARS!!! LOL!

Wait until after the 2nd game of the season before you try to talk trash. Tebich might get hurt between now & then. Then what? That's the whole team. Your QB is the toughest skill player on offense. 20 carries a game??? Are your RB's cheerleaders???

Wait a minute...

You spend all this time on a CANES BLOG!!! LOL! YOU ARE A C.C.C.S. (CLOSET CANE C--K SUCKER!)

You're 1 of those so called gators that wouldn't bite a Ibis if your starving life depended on it.

My bad. By all means, keep pullin' our dikk. Keep enjoying your secret love affair for "DA U". PROCEED...

just because ESPN says so ... doesn't make it so ...
FALLACY

Dam... It take you 45 to an hour to write that little fukkery that you do?

Hurry up ho'. Let's see what you got...

Dam cokdrool you're slow. I'll check back with your bullshyt later...

"It take you 45 to an hour to write that little fukkery that you do?" - cocainecane

SELF-EXPLANATORY


"just because ESPN says so ... doesn't make it so" - split pea soup

You mean like the one slow day a year when they mention Duhhhhhh U:

#1 Recruiting Class

Most 2-Star Recruits in the nation

Most number of recuits who failed to qaulify out of the top ten classes.

TRUTH BE TOLD

Do you think NY & LA are special because of sports?

Go to the UF blog dude, you don't belong over here. You're just another wannabe.

I bet your parents are brother & sister.

The more we answer to CANESRULE the more ammo he has. Just ignore him and let him talk to himself. Answering him is fueling his statements. Just let him show us he has no life!!!!!! Don't respond...

Anyways, I can't wait for the season to start...I am counting down the days!!!!!!

We're coming off of a 5-7 LOSING season in which a bad Virginia team handed us our lunch.

We have a fourth choice coach wouldn't even be interviewed at top tier school.

We have to drive 30 minutes north through choking traffic just to arrive at the binocular required warehouse known as dolphin stadium.

We have a no one who has taken a single full speed game snap under center.

We're .500 under our present coach against the VERY mediocre ACC.

We can count on one hand the number of touchdowns our receivers have scored.

We have an injury prone backfield that really has done anything either.

We were the 110th ranked offense last year out of 117 teams.

We did get some athletes to commit but presently our depth chart is well....non existent.

We have NO RESPECT. Mostly because we haven't done ANYTHING for years now. Let's not forget, we got beat by BC last year.

Our list of problems does not indicate that we will be getting better in 08, it says we will be the same or worse.

Our blockhead coach will be getting his walking papers unless the athletic department resigns itself to mediocrity.

Where does this end cane fan.

I'll be on my mom's futon wearing my blow up helmet and homer goggles.

Let's go canes.

who's we?
CROSS-DRESSER

ESPN's #1 class

beauty is truth, truth beauty
-- keats

We have to drive 30 minutes north through choking traffic just to arrive at the binocular required warehouse known as dolphin stadium.

Posted by: gaturd cross-dresser | July 03, 2008 at 06:33 AM

http://dolphinstadium.com

2,000 flat-screen TVs
22,000 parking spaces
sit-down restaurants
concierge attendants
240 luxury suites
largest hi-def jumbotrons
Kohler restrooms

CAN'T WAIT

Like I've said before, the only reason this little f@ggot is on here is because Gator fans are not used to success (although, I wouldn't call 1 championship surrounded by their usual mediocre seasons a success but whatever). That's why he feels he has to get all his shots in before the Canes' inevitable rise to the top. You really can't blame him, the loser has been waiting for this day for about 25 years. So keep it up buddy, it's pretty funny. It's cute that you have all this new found confidence.

Cokdrool... Where your punk a-s at? I see it took you 2 hours to write that sentence. I gave your closet cane c--k suckin' a-s too much credit. Repeat last night, do what I tell you & continue to pull our d--k. PROCEED B--CH...

Dolphin stadium is a horrible place to watch a football game. It's a great place to watch video, terrible viewing field. don't forget to bring your 24" binoculars loser canes. You'll have to focus your binoculars to see mediocre ACC teams whuppin your sorry arse. You have yet to see the bottom dumb cane fan. Things will get much worse before they get better. Got it Octavious?

good luck with a bunch of true freshmen and a depth chart that looks like swiss cheese. You guys are headed for 4-8. Good luck with the bonehead coach who has the speaking skills of an inuit. LOSER CANES

UF 52

UM 6

BLOWOUT

That's all you got cokdrool??? KEEP PULLIN' THE D--K B--CH!!! I want 2 comments every 10 minutes from your sweet a-z. I know your dum a-z think faster than that. WORK HARDER B--CH!!!

"The more we answer to CANESRULE the more ammo he has." - open mouth insert foot

"Do you really think they are going to highlight a major city against small college towns." - when idiots talk Canes listen

NEVER ENDING CYCLE

"just because ESPN says so ... doesn't make it so" - light green

"ESPN's #1 class" - dark green

NO MAN'S LAND

2,000 flat-screen TVs - tuned into ESPN Gator highlights.

22,000 parking spaces - 50 spots for each fan of Duh U who makes it to the game.

sit-down restaurants - got to keep occupied doing something during the entire second half when getting blown out, mine as well eat.

concierge attendants - because someone has to tell Randy how to make in-game adjustments

240 luxury suites - sitting empty

largest hi-def jumbotrons - to watch the one U highlight on every other game

Kohler restrooms - for Canes to wipe up what they just got handed to them.

MIAMI MOOCHERS

"Canes' inevitable rise to the top" - fan with one exclamation point for emphasis

I was not aware that Duhhhh U was transferring back into the Big Easy?

SURVEY SAYS: 16-16

"I see it took you 2 hours to write that sentence. I gave your closet cane c--k suckin' a-s too much credit." - cocainecane

GRADUATE OF DUHHHHH U

"Do you think NY & LA are special because of sports?" - Crackjunkie

I am not sure how to answer this one, since they are not "major cities" and the contest in called "Title Town".

THE SPECIAL BUS IS NOW FULL

Good luck with the bonehead coach who has the speaking skills of an inuit.

Posted by: cross-dresser | July 03, 2008 at 03:03 PM
Coach Shannon may not speak the king's english ... but his heartfelt words impart eternal truths ...

JUST WIN BABY

"just because ESPN says so ... doesn't make it so" - light green

"ESPN's #1 class" - dark green

NO MAN'S LAND

Posted by: cross-dresser | July 03, 2008 at 06:00 PM
beauty is in the eye of the beholder ...

NUANCE

Dolphin stadium is a horrible place to watch a football game.

Posted by: cross-dresser | July 03, 2008 at 02:53 PM
fans embrace move ...
season-ticket sales outpace Orange Bowl swan song ...

NEW & IMPROVED

You have yet to see the bottom dumb cane fan. Things will get much worse before they get better.

Posted by: cross-dresser | July 03, 2008 at 02:53 PM
predicting a bleak future ... not if history is any guide ...

EGG ON FACE

"JUST WIN BABY" - tree hugger

1-9
16-16
6-6
5-7

ANYTHING BUT

"beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - turd of godzilla

Apparently, so is losing.

CHECK THE FACTS

"beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - turd of godzilla

Apparently, so is losing.

CHECK THE FACTS

"season-ticket sales outpace Orange Bowl" - lantern

Name one other school in the ACC or SEC that has given away free home game tickets with a test drive or offers season ticket for a buck 99.

STILL NOT SOLD OUT

"predicting a bleak future ... not if history is any guide" - the other side

1-9
16-16
6-6
5-7

GET IT RIGHT

Keep it comin cokdrool. You're a good b---h. YOU'RE MY MAIN B---H! Watch my b---h' do what I tell her. RUN YA MOUTH B---H!!!

Fulmer’s deal is worth an average of nearly $3 million over the next seven seasons and makes him the fourth-highest paid coach in the Southeastern Conference.

Pearl's new deal increases his salary to an average $2.3 million a year.

SEC PAY DIRT, ACC EATS DIRT

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