Last Thursday we had the chance to catch up with NC State Senior Dennis Horner. Last year Dennis posted career highs in minutes (18.9), points (6.4), rebounds (2.8), assists (1.2) and assist/turnover ratio (2.0). Here's how our conversation went with one of the Pack's most improved players last season:
WPH: Dennis, you showed drastic improvement in your shooting percentage last season in pretty much every category. What do you attribute that to?
Horner:I think I was more comfortable in the offense. Coach Lowe also had a little more faith in me to go out and play better and that gave me a lot of confidence.
WPH: A little known fact that many might not know, is that you led the team in assist/turnover ratio last season. It's pretty rare for a big man to lead in that category. Is that something you pride yourself in?
Horner: Yeah. Coach is always preaching to play the game the right way. To make the smart play, the easy play.
WPH: Tell us a little bit about how you ended up at NC State.
Horner: I was playing on an AAU team in New Jersey that wasn't widely known and we played against Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson's team and I had a big game. That is when my recruitment really picked up. I was being recruited real hard by West Virginia, Notre Dame and NC State. After I committed to NC State and Coach Sendek left, I decided that I had already been through the recruiting process once and I didn't want to go through it again.
WPH: What are your expectations for next season? Have any of the incoming Freshmen really impressed you?
Horner: My expectations are for us to play very well because we have kids in here that want to work. They're gym rats. Also, Deshawn and Richard are going to play a lot this year. When Tracy and I come out, we're not really going to loose a step.
WPH: How do you see yourself stepping up as a leader this year as a Senior?
Horner: I think I will be a vocal leader and a guy who leads by example. If the young guys see you working out, it makes them want to work hard. I've been setting up team meetings making sure that everyone is on the same page. I help get the guys together to play pick-up.
WPH: What are the main things that you are working on this off-season?
Horner: I've been working on my ball handling and getting bigger. I've also been working on my post moves and my face up moves in the post.