Q&A with North Carolina's Wayne Ellington from the NBA Pre-Draft Combine

Ryan MillerCorrespondent IJune 11, 2009

DETROIT - APRIL 06:  Wayne Ellington #22 of the North Carolina Tar Heels cuts down a piece of the net following their 89-72 win against the Michigan State Spartans during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Ford Field on April 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Video of this interview can be found here.

What are people telling you about your game from the collegiate level to the pro level?

Wayne: I think it’s going to be a pretty easy transition, going to Carolina and playing with a lot of talented players around me and playing that style of basketball will definitely help me adjust.

What adjustments do you think you’ll have to make to the pro game?

It’s a whole different level of competition. There are going to be bigger, stronger guys, more athletic guys, and it’s just going to be a level of competition that you have to raise your game to.

Is there a team or teams that match your style or Carolina’s style?

There are a couple of teams. I think a lot of NBA teams run a lot of open sets on the floor that are similar to Carolina, and I’m just looking forward to taking that next step and getting out there and having an opportunity to play.

You entered your name into the draft last year. How improved are you after this past season?

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For me, I think I’m just more prepared. Just going back another year and working on my all around game and becoming a more complete player, I definitely feel I’m more prepared this year. We all did the same thing and came back and accomplished something very special. Now we’re here this year looking to take that next step.

In 2005, Florida’s guys came back, won a championship and there stock all rose. Do you see hopefully happening?

Yeah, I think so. I think we definitely didn’t hurt ourselves at all. We came back and we all got better, individually and as a team and we did it on the biggest stage. I think that definitely helps your resume.

You really elevated your game the second half of the year:

I think March is a critical point in the season. I just wanted to raise my play and elevate my game and show some different things that I could do. As a result I think it helped our team a lot and helped me individually as well.

Were you surprised with the MVP award?

(Laughs) A little bit, man. A lot of talk I was doing some work and I was playing well, but at the same time I had a lot of other players on my team doing well. I just thank God.

Talk about your relationship with Gerald Henderson, growing up together, and what this means coming into the NBA together:

We have a great relationship. We do almost everything together. We have the same agent and have been working out together getting ready. We’re just having fun. It’s a fun process and something that’s a dream of both of ours, and we’re happy to be able to do it together.

This preparation process seems to fly by. Has it hit you yet that this is it?

You don’t even really think about it. It’ll probably hit me later that this is the process that I’ve been waiting for all my life. At the same time, right now all you can do is work. I’ve been working hard getting ready to prepare myself to the best of my ability.

When you say you’ve widened your game, what do you feel you do better now than this time last year?

I think I do a lot of things. I think I’m a lot tougher of a defender. I’m a better rebounder. I’m a lot better off the dribble. I think I understand the game a lot better. I think those things are some of the things that are definitely key that I improved in.

What do you feel the ACC does to prepare guys?

I feel like there’s a lot of talent in the ACC. Not only does the ACC prepare us but we go against great competition every night. I feel like that’s a key that helps guys come into the next level. Every night a team can beat you and you’ve got to bring your "A" game every night.

NBA Pre-draft Combine Results

Height w/o shoes: 6'4.25"
Height w/ shoes: 6'5.25"
Weight: 202
Wingspan: 6'6.5"
Standing Reach: 8'4"
Body Fat: 5.5 percent
No Step Vert. 31.5
Max Vert. 38.0
Bench Press: 13
Lane Agility: 11.14
Three-quarter Court Sprint: 3.20 sec.

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