John Gillon is a busy man these days. He’s chasing an NBA dream despite not being highly regarded on draft boards. The point guard who dug the Orange out of many holes this season had some time to talk about his time at SU and his NBA potential.
Orange Fizz: Coach Boeheim said that he wishes he had you another year because he could have turned you into an All-ACC point guard. What did that mean to you?
John Gillon: It meant a lot to me me playing for someone that had that much confidence in me. It definitely boosted me this season that he believed in me.
OF: You started the season coming off the bench, but quickly transitioned into that starting role. What allowed you to get to that point this year?
JG: I just tried to stay consistent. I just tried to play my game whenever I could, so I knew things would eventually work out if I just stayed positive and I did what I had to do.
OF: The guy whose spot you took was Frank Howard and he was a guy who struggled a little bit this season. He’s coming back for next year, why should Syracuse fans be optimistic about Frank Howard starting next season?
JG: I don’t think everybody got to see how good Frank is. I thought at times he wasn’t as comfortable playing. He’s a really good player. A big guard, he’s talented, he has a good court awareness and he’s proven that he can hit more shots now, so I think people should be excited for what’s next for him because he’s gonna be a big contributor next year. He’s gonna be a player you can rely on.
OF: This is a team that came in with super high expectations. Coach Boeheim said it was one of the best teams he’s ever had on paper. But then you guys fall short of the NCAA Tournament. Where did it go wrong?
JG: I think it’s tough to get adjusted to a new team no matter how talented we were. Like, one through five of our starting five, I mean I can’t really see too many people outscoring us. If you match up each position, there’s really not a lot of teams like us. So I would agree that on paper that we were a good team, but I mean, I don’t think we meshed well at times and I think we figured out our lineups and things a little too late because we had some bad losses at the beginning of the season, but our conference schedule we did well in conference. We were a tournament team in conference.
OF: You stayed at school to train for the NBA Draft instead of leaving for Chicago like some of your teammates. Why did you decide to stick at school?
JG: I just wanted to finish up my classes, to be honest. School is really important to me. I think it should be important to everybody. Also, I got to work out with Eric Devendorf, so I wasn’t missing anything. He went through the whole pre-draft process, so he knows the type of workouts that I needed to do. And I had a weight room, I could shoot at any time here at ‘Cuse, so it wasn’t really at the time necessary for me to go off anywhere and go train. I was working out everyday here.
OF: Let’s look at you and your NBA prospects. What teams have you worked out for so far?
JG: I’ve only worked out for the Rockets so far, but I have, like, five workouts coming up. I go to the Trail Blazers. I leave for Portland on Wednesday. Then, I immediately go to Denver and then I’m working out for the Heat and then I’m working out for the Knicks and then the Thunder. My agent told me I’m probably going to get a few more.
OF: You’re a Houston native. How much fun or how important would it be if you ended up with the Rockets?
JG: That’d be huge, man. That’d be a dream come true to just, you know, be an NBA player. It’s so hard to do, man. It would just mean the world to me to get the opportunity like that and also play in front of my friends and family. That’s crazy, man. You couldn’t script it any better.