Monday, July 13, 2009

Off-Season Update: An Interview with Dennis Horner

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.

Thanks Dennis!


14 Responses to "Off-Season Update: An Interview with Dennis Horner"
  1. Pack Leader said...
    July 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    In the past I have questioned the idea of starting Dennis at the 4, commenting that his game is more suited facing the basket and stretching the def with his 3 ball, but hearing how much he has been working in the weight room and adding some low post moves to his arsenal really gives me confidence. He seems to understand that the freshman coming in will HAVE to eat up mins and hopefully they are already starting to work with Dennis/CJ/Tracey in the gym consistently.

    I know we talk about moving parts but the ability to move Dennis around really changes our squad. If he runs at the 3 we have a very large line up similar to last years squad but he can still hit the 3s to keep the doubles off of tracey. If he runs at the 4 he can pull a big 4 away from the basket and make him uncomfortable 15-20 ft away which can free up the lane for driving and low post moves.

    Glad to see he is working so hard and is willing to help the younger guys behind him.

    WHP I remember last summer when state went to Canada to play in summer ball Dennis was a real bright spot, scoring 30+ pts several times. Any word on how he has been doing at the Carolina Pro/Am??

  2. RPMan said...
    July 13, 2009 at 11:48 AM

    How did Horner look, did he appear to be successful in putting on muscle mass? Strong enough to be successful at the 4? I love Horners game but to me he has just always been to easily moved around in the post to be effective in the paint, if he cold get stronger to hold his ground he could be pretty crafty at the 4 spot, I think he really plays the high post well and would like to see him step up his low post game.

  3. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    July 13, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    Yes, I could notice a difference in Dennis from last year to this year. While he hasn't bulled up like some sort of body builder , he definitely has improved his upper body strength. This should really help him out playing the 4 this year.

  4. Anonymous said...
    July 13, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    hopefully in a couple more months he can get even bigger.

  5. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    July 13, 2009 at 1:41 PM

    Pack Leader,
    We'll have some Pro-Am updates coming soon along with video. We've been having a problem with our camera that we hopefully will have fixed soon.

  6. Anonymous said...
    July 13, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    What we want is for Dennis to gain "some" size - but more important than getting "bigger" is for him to gain strength and stamina. This does not mean he will get "BIG" - it means his size may be a small gain but his strength will be 2-3 fold...

    1985 NCSU Grad......

  7. Jose said...
    July 13, 2009 at 6:26 PM

    I'm VERY excited for this upcoming season in terms of what Dennis Horner can prove on the court. He can shoot the ball extremely well when he gets into flow and more that any other player on Lowe's team since Atsur can spot and execute the smart play to make.

    The thing that has always stuck with me about Dennis is that he shows how much he wants to win while he is out there and he goes about his business the right way.

    When we got embarrassed last year at BC with the showing under the glass it was obvious the rematch in Raleigh was going to have Coaches screaming at all the players to box out. I remember Dennis boxing out and pushing guy's back with everything he could muster when we topped the Eagles that day.

    He's a guy that has always taken the Coach's words to the fullest meaning and then maximized all his efforts to follow through on the teams' goals. Unfortunately up until now he was sort of in the minority but from the sounds of it he has a solid group of like minded team mates (gym rat's- gotta love that!).

  8. BicepCurls said...
    July 13, 2009 at 8:21 PM

    Denny is a soild player who I believe needs to imporve his footwork as a defender. He often gets beat to the basket, which may have to do with him guarding a lot of SF's last season. His slow feet also cause him to get leveraged by stronger posts. The ACC is not loaded with (experienced) talented post players this year. Therefore, Denny should be able to hold his own in the post becasue he is coachable and gives high effort.
    I am not worried about him on the offensive end. His outside game is better than that of Brandon's and he has a better feel of when to cut to the basket, shoot and pass. Denny should be more than solid this year. I believe it will be tough to take him off the floor if he can knock down open threes. I honestly, with no disrespect to Brandon, do not think we lost much at the 3/4. Denny is a team player who is going to have a great year, which translates to a lot of dunks for T. Smith and wins for State!

  9. DealBigRick said...
    July 14, 2009 at 5:29 AM

    Wow! How short was that interview!? You didn't even ask him about if he's willing to play the 3 this year.. an important question considering the ripple effect of losing Lo Brown

  10. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    July 14, 2009 at 7:03 AM

    Dennis had to be at his internship soon, and I wanted to be respectful of his time.

  11. DealBigRick said...
    July 14, 2009 at 8:09 AM

    Should've scheduled it for a different time then.

  12. Afterglow said...
    July 14, 2009 at 8:10 AM

    Thank you for the interview! I love this site; it keeps me involved with basketball during a part of the year when it's all but dead. Thank you again Wolfpack Hoops!!!

  13. Pack Leader said...
    July 14, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Deal Big Rick-

    Since the interview was so short and not up to YOUR standards... Next time you can use YOUR connections and interview players yourself...
    Take that negative crap to another site. Idk why WHP even posted your comments they dont help in any way.

  14. Anonymous said...
    July 14, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    Well said Pack Leader.



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