Carolina Connection
By John Schuhmann


Felton and May know each other well.
Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

Raymond Felton and Sean May led the University of North Carolina to a national championship this past April. May was the MVP of the Final Four. Felton was the floor general. They were two of four college teammates picked in the first 14 picks of the draft. The Bobcats were happy that two local heroes were available when they drafted at picks No. 5 and 13. The Carolina connection is alive and well in Charlotte, but it extends much further than that.

Rookie Report sat down with the two Bobcat rookies this week to talk about their experiences in the NBA so far and that "Carolina connection."

Sean May

May is showing more of what he can do in the league.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Rookie Report: What was the scouting report on Sean May entering the draft?
Sean May: I think a lot of people knew that I was a big, burly kid who could play on the block and who could clean the glass. There's always been questions about my shape and my ability to withstand a grueling NBA schedule. I think getting in better shape last year might have changed some people's minds about that. I think that's pretty much what people thought about my game. They really didn't know my ability to shoot the basketball or do things with the ball because I never really did it much in college.

RR: Does the Carolina system affect that?
SM: It's the same thing if you look at Vince. When he played with Antawn, everyone mostly talked about Antawn and the type of player he was. Vince could do so many things. That system hides a lot of your weaknesses, but you don't get to expand yourself as much. When you get to the pro level, it's more of an individual game. You show your one-on-one skills a lot more and I think that's what allowed Vince to flourish. Coach Williams did a good job of hiding my weaknesses and we had four pros on our team, so it's hard to go out and do everything that you're capable of.

RR: Is there a bond with Carolina guys that came five or 10 years before you?
SM: Definitely. I never played with Stack. I never played with Vince. I played with them a couple of times in the summer, but when we see them, they act like they've known us forever. Jeff McInnis... Pat Sullivan. I've never played with him, but he's one of the greatest guys I've ever met. It's because we both came from the same school. It's that family atmosphere that you can't get anywhere else.

RR: Do you all still have those runs in Chapel Hill during the summer?
SM: Definitely. Everybody comes back in the summer. Vince came back last year. Stackhouse... Antawn... Jeff came back. It's amazing and there are very few programs where you can get that type of run.

RR: Were you surprised to hear your name at #13?
SM: There were one or two teams ahead of 13 that I thought I may have a chance at. Orlando was one. L.A. was one because I really didn't know they were going to go with the high-school kid, Andrew Bynum and I had a pretty good workout there. I knew that if I didn't go at 13, I had a pretty good shot at 15, and if I didn't go at 15, it was going to be questionable where I was going to end up. I was just happy to be chosen where I was, especially to be back in Charlotte.

RR: What's the best thing about playing with Raymond Felton?
SM: Just knowing how he plays, knowing what he's going to do on the floor. Playing for so long together and going through so much in college, it has allowed us to be comfortable with each other here on the pro level.

RR: Is there a player you were looking forward to playing against when you came into the league?
SM: Everybody. Everybody's so good. The first time... KG... Tim Duncan... Shaq. I didn't play the game he played. You see these guys you grow up watching ever since high-school and you can finally be on the same court with them and showcase your skills.

RR: Do you pay attention to what other rookies are doing around the league?
SM: Definitely. I follow everybody. You know these guys in the class you came in with. You grew up playing with them, especially a lot of the guys from the ACC. I'm checking out Chris. I know Channing Frye pretty well. I'm watching him. I talk to Marvin every other day to see how he's doing. I try to keep close tabs on how other rookies are doing throughout the league.

RR: How is Marvin handling things?
SM: He's doing well. He's handling it well. The transition has been a little slow for him, but they got a lot of young guys on his team. For him, it's more about getting experience, getting on the floor and showcasing what he can do. He's not scoring a lot of points, but he's not doing a lot of bad things either. He's playing defense and just trying to help his team win games right now. Maybe his role right now is not to put the ball in the hole.

Raymond Felton

Felton isn't concerned about minutes.
Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
Rookie Report: What was your first thought when you heard your name?
Raymond Felton: It felt good.

RR: Were you surprised at all?
RF: I wasn't surprised. It was a dream come true though.

RR: What about when Sean got picked at 13?
RF: I was extremely happy about that. It was a great night.

RR: In your one start, you had a huge game and you guys beat the Pacers by 32. Then Brevin Knight came back and you were on the bench again. Is that frustrating?
RF: No. It's a team thing. It's not all about me. It's not about starting. It's about winning.

RR: Has your coach talked to you about your playing time and your role in general?
RF: Nah. I just come out there and play.

RR: Do you ever look and see Chris Paul getting 35 mpg and wonder what you could be doing in that situation?
RF: Nah. I'm happy for him. He's doing a great job. He's getting a lot of minutes. He's starting.

RR: Do you pay attention to what other rookies are doing around the league?
RF: Yeah, I check up on C.P. a lot... Deron... a lot of guys. Rashad, Marvin, all of them.

RR: What has been the biggest lesson you've learned since entering the league?
RF: I just got to take care of my body and get the proper rest. You got a game one night and you turn around and you got a game the next night. You gotta jump on the plane and turn around.

RR: Do you have a lot of free time?
RF: There's a lot of free time, but that's nothing.

RR: What do you do with your free time?
RF: I chill. There's a lot of things you can do. What I do is confidential though.

RR: What's the best thing about playing with Sean May?
RF: Sean can do so many things. He can post up. He can shoot. He's a guy that knows basketball.

RR: What did you think of the scouting report on him when he came out, that he was undersized?
RF: That's their opinion. He has a lot of skills. Even though he may not be as tall as other power forwards, he can use his body. He can shoot the jumper. He can take you out on the perimeter and drive to the basket. There are so many things that he can do.

RR: Is there anybody in the league that you looking forward to playing against?
RF: Nah, I'm just having fun. Just enjoying every night. Every night is a battle no matter who we play.

RR: Who has been the toughest point guard for you so far?
RF: A.I. was definitely tough. Every team, man. From JKidd to A.I. to Tony Parker to Andre Miller. Anybody. They're all tough each and every night.

RR: Do you still have a connection with Carolina guys that came five or 10 years before you?
RF: No question. I talk to those guys all the time. Stack, 'Tawn, Vince. All those guys.

RR: What is it that keeps you all connected?
RF: It's just that tradition... that bond that we have with the Carolina family. That's just how it is.

RR: So when you go against Vince or Jeff McInnis...
RF: It's like I've known them all my life, and I've only know them a couple of years maybe.