Press Conference Quotes

April 14, 2005

Chris Paul's Opening Statement:

 

"A couple more people here than I thought there were going to be.  First of all I'd like to thank everyone for being here to share a very emotional day for me.  It's a dream to declare for the NBA Draft.  At the same time I'm leaving behind a place and many people that are very close to my heart.  I've always welcomed challenges since placing a ball in my hands when I was little.  Playing in the NBA against some of the greatest athletes in the world is what I consider the ultimate challenge.

 

My decision, while tough, was not made in haste.  I contemplated the decision for several weeks.  I've been given limitless advice, some of it welcome, some of it not.  I've talked at length with my family and with the coaching staff.  In the end, I felt like I was ready to handle the challenge.  Please understand that this was the most difficult decision I have ever made.  The reason it has been so difficult is because of many of the people in this room.  My teammates here at Wake Forest are like my brothers, and I share everything with them.  While I plan to remain close to each and every one of them, I am going to miss the day to day contact that I have had with them for more than two years.

 

I am extremely grateful to the coaching staff.  They recruited me harder than anyone else in the country.  They helped me develop my skills and prepare me for the next level.  Coach Prosser has taught me a great deal about life in addition to basketball.  To them I say thank you.

 

I will leave here feeling good about what we have accomplished.  48 wins over the last two years, a number one ranking, a sweet sixteen appearance, a Preseason NIT title, and more.  Coach Prosser has the program ranked among one of the best in the nation.  The atmosphere in the Joel Coliseum is like none other.  We have the greatest fans in the country.  Which brings me to the Wake Forest fans and the Screamin' Demons.  Our fans are the best in college basketball, I will miss them as well, and I appreciate everything they have done for me.

 

Although I am going to the NBA, my heart will remain here at Wake Forest forever, and Winston-Salem, and Lewisville.  I will play for a different team next year, but I will always be a Demon Deacon at heart.  Thanks very much."

 

Skip Prosser's Opening Statement:

 

"I said many times if Chris Paul never scored a basket at Wake Forest, never made an assist, or played a minute of basketball, our school would be a better place for him having gone to school here.  I certainly feel that is the case.

 

Chris will be the first to tell you, and sort of has told you, that a lot of the success that he's had has been a direct influence of Wake Forest and especially of his teammates.  While we are going to miss him, we're grateful for what he has done for Wake Forest as grateful for he is for what Wake Forest has done for him.  It's a new chapter in his life and we're hoping and praying that Wake Forest as well as what he has done prior to Wake Forest has prepared him well for the next chapter in his life in basketball and otherwise."

 

Questions:

 

Chris, what do you think your legacy at Wake Forest will be?

 

"Hopefully pretty well.  This year we won 27 games, the most ever in school history.  I think we're leaving out on a good note.  We lost to West Virginia, which was a tough loss, but in the end it was a tough decision."

 

Chris, could you talk about the decision and what went into it?

 

"It was a tough decision.  I factored into it my teammates, school of course, because my objective coming here was to develop my skills as a basketball player and also graduate.  Believe it or not that is my main focus that I will graduate.  I know with my family's support that is going to occur.  The factors that went into it were to keep talking to the people that have always been in my life and been a great influence on me, the coaches, my mom, my brother and my dad."

 

Was it a matter of taking a sure thing this year than coming back and rolling the dice?

 

"No, not at all, because I felt that if I came back next year we would have had just as good a season as their still going to have.  You just got to play ball.  Whether I'm in the NBA or at Wake Forest, I'm always going to play ball.  That definitely had no influence on me deciding whether to stay or go."

 

Chris, when did you make the final decision to go to the NBA?

 

"It's hard to tell.  I just had this gut feeling that this is what I wanted to do.  I talked it over, Lord knows how many times, with coach and my parents, I just got this feeling a couple days ago that this is what I wanted to do.  We had a great ceremony last night, and a lot of people were asking me about it at the banquet last night.  But the banquet is all about our seniors with Taron [Downey] and Jamaal [Levy] and those guys and I didn't want to take anything away from them."

 

Chris, what are your thoughts on getting an agent?

 

"Right now, I don't have an agent.  I haven't signed with the agent or anything.  I am just going to continue going through the process and talking with my family and we'll decide that when the time comes."

 

 

On the finality of his decision:

"You can't go into this thing 98% sure.  You have to be positive about what you want to do.  I feel like if you look back now, that's where you get in trouble."

 

On the possibility of playing in Charlotte:

"I know my mom wouldn't have a problem with that.  My family is so supportive of me.  That would be nice to play for the Bobcats, but right now I just want to play for whoever has the number one pick."

 

Do you have any sense of where you might go?

"Not a clue.  I've been talking it over with Coach and there's some paperwork you can fill out and send to the NBA and they'll send it back and sort of give you a feel for it.  I think a lot of that is going to depend on me and how hard I am willing to work."

 

Will you be attending the pre-draft workouts or have people come in here for individual analysis?

"To tell you the truth, I haven't even thought that far in advance.  I'm just going to keep talking to my parents and coaches to see how that works out."

 

Did your season have any influence on the decision?

"Our season really had no influence on this decision.  It was about what was best for me and my family.  I talked it over with my teammates and got their opinion as well.  I felt like my family and my teammates were who this decision was going to affect the most.  I'm with those 99% of the time and however they felt about definitely made me more comfortable in my decision."

 

Did you come to Wake Forest with the intention of it being a four year thing?

"I mean this is all still so surreal.  I had no idea I would even be in this situation after my sophomore year.  It just came from working hard.  I always thought I would come in here, play four years, and then God willing have the opportunity to someday play in the NBA.  It just the way God works.  I'm just so thankful to be in this situation."

 

Have you spoken with any former Wake Forest players in the NBA?

"I actually did get the opportunity to talk with Tim Duncan and most recently Josh Howard.  Those guys were in different situations.  They gave me their advice on what I should do and I just took it."

 

What are you going to have to do between now and training to work on your game?

"Definitely get stronger and increase my range.  That NBA three point line is pretty deep.  Downey was talking about it the other day.  It will definitely be an adjustment."

 

Skip Prosser

On Paul's decision:

"I always thought it was a possibility.  It was Chris' decision.  It was an irrevocable decision.  As he has said, he's had a lot of discussions and certainly a lot of deep, deep thought and I don't think it's a financial decision.  I think it was a decision based on challenges.  As I told Chris, it's ok to go and it's ok to stay and he just had to make a decision about what was best for him at this particular time."

 

What's going to be the hardest thing to replace with Chris leaving?

"He's a natural point guard.  You felt very comfortable with handing him the basketball.  I think it's probably that comfort level, especially going down the stretch of the game, that a good decision was going to be made.  I think he really grew into that role.  The familiarity and relationship a coach has with his point guard is not unlike a quarterback in football."

 

 


 

 

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