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Published 03/05/2013
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Senior Spotlight: Trey McKinney Jones

The Canes wrap up their regular season this week with a pair of home games against Georgia Tech (3/6) and Clemson (3/9). With five seniors on the roster, is honoring a different one each day this week leading up to Senior Day on Saturday against Clemson. Today we chat with senior swingman Trey McKinney Jones

Trey McKinney Jones
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
9.1 ppg, .373 3-pt%, 3.5 rpg

What is your favorite memory or moment as a Hurricane?

"My favorite memory is beating Duke earlier this year.  I think we were ranked No. 25 and they were No. 1. Beating the No. 1 team, and it being Duke, in our own conference, at home, and seeing everyone rushing the court, that was my best memory thus far.  Hopefully I have some bigger ones later."

What do you think of how your career has turned out?

"I am glad I made the decision to come here.  Being at UMKC was hard for me. Then when Coach Haith left, the coach that recruited me, I was kind of unsure because I did not play the previous year. Coach L had no film on me and I don't think he knew who I was, so I was kind of worried at first, but it turned out for the best.  I could not imagine a better person for the position and I am grateful.  I think it was good for me, it made me work that much harder to prove myself on the court to show him that I deserve to play and get good minutes and be a part of this program."

Are you happy with your legacy at Miami?

"I am, but it is not done yet.  Hopefully we can finish off the season with a victory so that is my ultimate goal."

Could you have ever imagined being in a position where you were a legitimate contender for a national championship?

"Honestly, just because of where I came from being that it was mid major school, it never crossed my mind.  For it to be a real possibility, this is kind of a surreal experience and it means a lot."

What do you think of the future for Miami Basketball?

"I think Coach L is going to keep moving up. He is a great coach and with the way we have played this year, this summer he will get a lot more recruits. Tonye and Shane are his only two recruits.  Everyone else was here before so when he gets his own kind of players and gets to coach them, he will continue to rise."

What do you hope to do in your future?

"Obviously I want to play basketball at the next level. What level that is, I am not sure yet. Right now, I am trying to concentrate on getting the national championship and winning the ACC."

Was playing pro ball always a realistic goal for you or has that developed recently?

"It was always a goal of mine.  I know I have a good chance of playing professionally at some level, whether it is overseas or the NBA.  Especially now with guys who play well from mid major schools, if they play well, they get drafted or at least get a chance to play in the summer league or things like that.  I was not going to be content with just playing college ball and then sitting down and working a nine to five."

What do you think of the emergence of the basketball program? Does this feel more like a basketball school now that it did when you got here?

"I think it is good for us. Now we are being looked at as a well-rounded school and not just a football school, but a basketball school too. "

What was it like to see LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and James Jones sitting courtside at the North Carolina game?

"It was great.  It means a lot to me that they came and I know my teammates mentioned it a lot after the game.  We look up to them, and for them to come and show support was big."

What is something that few people know about this team?

"Last year, we had to a run a mile in order to practice before the season started.  The guards had to make it in 5:45 and the bigs had to make it in six minutes.  Just getting up at 5 a.m. to be on the track at 6 a.m., everyone was tired and did not want to be there, but I think that is the hard work we had to put in to be where we are now."

Was that an experience that helped bring the team closer together?

"I think it definitely is.  Conditioning is never fun. It brings out the worst in people.  There would be times where certain people would not make the time, but some us would get out there and run it with them and it just brought us closer together."

What is your relationship like with the coaches and the rest of the team?

"Everyone says this but I can honestly say we are like brothers, like family.  I have had good experiences at both schools, even at UMKC, but for me to come here and feel that same kind of brotherhood and bonding between the players was important."

What is the highlight of your career?

"The Michigan State game earlier this year when I hit five threes. To just help my team win the first big game of the season over a ranked opponent and see the fans rush the court, that was special. I think that was my biggest game."

What did the win over Michigan State do for the team?

"I think it gave us a lot of confidence as a team. We knew after that game that we had something special and we can do some special things this year.  It put the past behind us. We had lost that exhibition game to St. Leo and the first game to Florida Gulf Coast. We knew people were doubting us. I feel like after that Michigan State game we were back on our feet and we knew we were going to have a special season."

What has it been like to help take this program all the way to No. 2 in the rankings?

"It has been crazy because I was a part of it the whole time. We have improved so much as a team and as program as a whole, it has done a lot for us."

What do you think of the opportunities you've had at Miami?

"I think it has been rare. Coach L gives everyone the same opportunity. You have individual workouts before the season and everyone is improving before the season. He is very fair.  Going back to when he first got the job, I met with him and told him I was maybe concerned there was no film on me and I would not get a fair shot due to the players who played last year. I thought he might continue with that lineup, but the first thing made sure to tell me was that nobody had a spot and that he was going to give everyone a fair chance."

What was your recruitment like and how did you decide to attend Miami?

"I did not really play AAU and that is big in recruiting, so I was not highly recruited. I knew l was better than mid major, not that anything is wrong with people playing at mid majors. I just wanted to play at a major conference school.  My last two schools were Wisconsin and here and it was tough for me to turn down Wisconsin because that is where I am from and Madison is like an hour and 15 minutes from where I live. It would have been a perfect situation, I thought. But I prayed about it and I felt like playing in the ACC was the best thing for me. It is the conference most NBA players come from and it is more of a high-speed conference, so I felt like it had a lot to do with it.  Coach Haith did a great job of selling the school and I liked him as a coach.  Practicing under him for a year was a good experience for me because playing at that level is different from playing at UMKC.  The players are better so it took me a year to get used to the changes in talent level.  Then he left and having to prove myself again for Coach L was scary at first, but in the end it was definitely a better situation."

How have you developed under this coaching staff?

"I feel like I have developed a lot.  Coaches like to work out with us after practice or during individual workouts.  You get one on one attention and you work on the details of your game that need work and you can improve.  Because of that, each player has improved in the last two years."

Beyond basketball, what do you think of your time at Miami?

"It has been amazing.  Just being in Miami, it is way different than Kansas City or Milwaukee.  The weather is nice, a lot better than those two.  In Milwaukee, it was a snow day yesterday and Kansas City they got a lot of snow. The weather there has been crazy, so not to see snow for the past two or three years has been nice.  My experience as a whole, I could not ask for a better one. It has been perfect."

What was it like to see the students camp out and line up before the Duke game?

"It was crazy. I never experienced that and to just see people do that told us that we were on the map. I even went out there with a few of my teammates and we went through the line and shook everyone's hands and took pictures.  I felt great seeing that and I wanted to make sure they knew how important it was to us."

What is something you know now that you wish you would have known as a freshman?

"Just to trust your coaches.  As a freshman, everyone wants to play, but you just have to trust your coach. They are here for a reason and they are the head coach for a reason. They know what they are doing so if you have to, take a year or two to come off the bench or play limited minutes. You just have to be ready to take advantage of that time and know in the back of your head that you are improving and your coach wants what is best for the team."

What does being a Miami Hurricane mean to you?

"It means the world.  It is something that is going to stick with me for the rest of my life.  I am going to come back and support for every sport, but especially the basketball team.  Kind of like when Warren Sapp or other people come back to support, that is what I am going to continue to do."