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Dec. 9, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Senior guard Zam Fredrick is a veteran leader on the court this year for the Gamecock men’s basketball team and for first-year head coach Darrin Horn. Fredrick recently took time for an interview with to discuss his career.

What are some differences between this year’s and last year’s team?
One thing is the experience factor as far as getting last season under your belt. Now we have a new coach, a new leader preaching a whole new system and just a whole new mindset. We just feel like we’re putting in the work that’s going to pay off for us down the stretch. We lost a lot of close games last year and now if we’re in those situations again, we can look back and say, “We paid the price.” Because we paid the price, if we’re in those situations again, we feel like the outcome will be a lot different, because we’ve worked harder to earn it.

Having a team that only lost one starter is big in whatever sport you’re playing. How will that help out this team?
Having one year under your belt is big. We’ve experienced the ups and downs, the close losses, and the struggles of a whole season. So, having a year under your belt, returning everybody and with a different system and coach where you feel like you can get it done is big. Nothing can replace experience with all of us coming back. Things are just on the up and up.

What will be the style of play of this team?
People are going to see how hard we’re going to play for 40 minutes. The energy and the effort that we play with is going to be different. Make or miss, regardless of the score, we’re going to be playing hard. The effort will always be there.

Adrian Branch of ESPN said that you could be one of the best 3-point shooters in the SEC. What do you think about that?
I saw when Adrian Branch said that on ESPN. I’ve always been looked at as just a scorer and for them to say that I could be the breakout three-point shooter, I feel like I could’ve already been that anyway. I’ve always been under the radar because of the people I play with. I’m going to get some open looks and I’m going to try to knock them down. With Devan (Downey) creating constant pressure on the defense, they’re going to start worrying about him, which will leave someone else open. If I start knocking down shots then they’ll do the same to me and someone else will step up and hit shots. As long as we’re scoring, I don’t care who it is. I just want to win.

What is Coach Horn like?
Real intense. Disciplinarian. He’s going to get the best out of you whether you want it or not. I respect the way he handles things. He knows the game. I came from the same type of basketball that he’s teaching us now, so I feel more at home and comfortable with what he’s teaching our team. I respect the way that when he first got here, he put his foot down. He said, “We’re going to do this, and we’re not going to do that.” When we test him, there will be punishment and we’ll see that we don’t want to do whatever bad thing it may be again. It’s important to know that he’s a man of his word and he always tells us the truth whether we like it or not. That’s important to have in a coach.

As long as we’re scoring, I don’t care who it is. I just want to win.

You started your collegiate career at Georgia Tech. What have these past few years of being back closer to home been like?
Being away from the family for those two years and having them travel those three hours or me travel those three hours wasn’t tough, but it just felt like it was a little extra. I felt bad sometimes when they’d travel for 8 or 9 (pm) game, and then they’d have to turn around and drive back. Being 30 minutes away makes things easier. Being home and having all your people wanting to come makes you feel like you always have to perform. It’s pressure, but it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before. Growing up down here and having expectations that I had for myself and from others was something that I like. I’m just glad to be back home and to see my friends and family when I want to. I have a son now and I need people that love him and I in our life. I feel blessed for the opportunity to be back home with this situation, with this team, in this town, and having my friends around.

Your dad, Zam Fredrick, Sr., is someone that a lot of people that have followed South Carolina basketball remember. What’s your relationship like with your dad?
He’s taught me everything I know about this game. When I was young, you just go with what works. It was working. Sometimes he’d tell me to do something different and I’d ask myself why. Now it’s stuff that the coaches at Georgia Tech, Coach Odom, and now Coach Horn have been telling me. I just didn’t listen back then. Now I go back home and tell my dad that they’re preaching the same stuff you’ve been preaching. The same stuff you’ve been telling me since I was little. I feel that he taught me everything I know. He gave me a lot of confidence to play and when I was playing for him, he gave me the freedom to develop into the kind of player I am. I feel that without him, I wouldn’t be the player that I am now. I’m trying to be three quarters of the player that he was.

Compiled by South Carolina Media Relations Student Assistant Bryan Powell