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A TRT exclusive conversation with Breon Pass

Breon Pass is unique. He is unique because he has spent his entire career at NC State, which is practically unheard of in this day and age with the transfer portal. His loyalty to this program is evident, and his desire to help this team succeed is so refreshing. He isn't a starter, but he does so many things for this basketball team on and off the court. He doesn't complain, but rather just comes into the games when he is called upon, and he has contributed in pressure situations on more than one occasion. He is from Reidsville NC where he was highly recruited as a football and basketball star, and thankfully he chose basketball and NC State. I recently got a chance to talk to the senior guard, and here is our conversation.

TRT: So first to get started, you've been at NC State your entire college career, which is kind of unusual these days, but what makes NC State special to you?

BP: This is like a second home to me, you know, when Coach Keatts recruited me my freshman year I knew it was going to be my home from there and it's nothing but love from here, you know, the community is really good, the fans and the support that we get and I just love it here.

TRT: With the final four run and the ACC Championship, do you think that's changed this program?

BP: For sure, and I do want to say I think the previous year also changed things around when we had Jarkel Joiner and T and all the other transfers, I feel like that year kind of, you know, made a mark and we were trying to, you know, just keep it going for all this past year, and I think that the final four and ACC Championship did definitely give us motivation for this coming season.

TRT: What do you think is the reason that this team started clicking in the ACC tournament?

Was there a particular reason?

BP: I just think that we weren't ready for the season to end and we weren't trying to go home that early. We knew after the Pittsburgh game, we took a loss. We knew that we had to win five games to even play in the postseason and we knew it was possible and we all just believed in each other and believed in the work that we put in and the outcome shows.

TRT: You've played a special role on this team, your whole career. Do you think that role is going to change next season?

BP: Most definitely. I feel like that I have been, you know, just watching behind and playing, playing with a lot of good guards throughout my years here at NC State and you know, they have really taught me a lot throughout their time here and now I feel like it's my time to show everybody what I bring to this program.

TRT: You're one of the veterans on the team.

I think you have been there longer than anybody else. Do you take on a leadership role with some of the younger guys?

BP: Most definitely and also with the transfers as well. You know, I know this offense and this program and everything and you know, a lot of guys come to me when they have a problem and I just want to make sure that everybody knows the main goal here and just being in that leadership role that I'm placed in now.

TRT: How do you think last season has affected the confidence of this team and the confidence of you personally?

BP: This team, we really want to win it all this year. We've seen what it takes to even get to that point and now we want to, you know, just win it all. And for me, it just gave me motivation because man, playing in the Final Four and winning the ACC Championship was something I dreamed of, you know, growing up as a kid and to really get there and just see it all come true you know, it just gave me motivation to just put the work in this summer and get back to where we were last year.

TRT: You made some really big shots and you played some crucial minutes in the ACC tournament and in the NCAA tournament.

Is it difficult to come into the game like that after you've been sitting for a while like with a couple minutes left in the first half and start to contribute like you did?

BP: I feel like it just comes with my preparation, you know, I always, I go by this quote, stay ready so you won't have to get ready. I've been working behind the scenes a lot, you know, just, you know, I just stay ready all the time and I'm always engaged on the sideline so when it's my time to come in the game, I will be ready for it so you know, just stay ready and just never be out of the game, you know, stay in the game, always be on the sideline, just watch what's going on and when your needed it's time to perform.

TRT: This off-season, have you been working on a specific part of your game?

BP: I really just been trying to tighten things up. I feel like that I know what I have to do to be effective on this team this year, but mainly I'm working on trying to be more vocal this year and just being that leader because, you know, we lost three of our leaders this year and it's time for somebody to step up and I feel like it's my time now.

TRT: How do you feel about the potential of this team?I know it's early still, but you've already met a lot of the guys and have been working out together.

BP: I feel like we have a chance to get back to where we were last year. I know that we're not going to be talked about just because of the fact that we lost DJ Horne and DJ Burns and Casey Morsell and Mo and all them guys, but, but we love that.We love to be the underdogs just like how we were last year and I feel like that all the guys that came in, plus the returners, they all know the main goal and were ready to take off.

TRT: Do you feel like that this team is going to be deeper than last year's team?

BP: Um, I think that's a great question.

It's hard to say right now because we lost a lot, but I can say we probably got the same talent wise as last year's team, but, um, yeah, that's gonna, that's gonna have to be the answer. I will have to wait and see how it works out during the season.

TRT: That's, that's fair enough.

To what do you attribute the outstanding defensive play that you guys had in the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament? Was it just more of a focus thing?

BP: It was just more of the focus part. We really just knew that we had to rely more on defense and we knew that we could score the ball whenever we wanted to, but defense was the main thing that was going to get everything started so once we are starting to connect on defense and we were as you've seen, we were out there talking more.

We had more guys flying around and it was all about just effort too and we didn't want to go home so that was, that was really the case with that.

TRT: If my research is correct, you were a pretty good football player coming out of high school too, I think, but what made you decide to choose basketball?

BP: basketball was something that my dad put in my hands as a, as a young child.

I grew up with a basketball in my hand all the time.

You know, football would be, um, coming from my, my city, Reidsville, it's a well-known football City so I had no choice but to play football, but, you know, God blessed me with that time to be good and I was able to receive 14 offers, but you know, it just came down to what I love more and you know, I put my everything into basketball and this is something that I think I can enjoy my future with.

TRT: Of all the ACC teams from last season, which team do, which team do you think was the best defensively?

BP: Uh, best defensively, yeah, that's tough. Um, I'll probably say UVA only because of the packline defense that they run.

TRT: You guys had some success against them though.

BP: to be able to win those games, it was very, very good, very, very big wins for us.

TRT: You seem really comfortable shooting the basketball. I mean, you, you shot the ball really well last year and, and,I think, you know, some people were maybe a little surprised, but I wasn't because I knew you can, I know you can score. Have you always been a really good shooter, even in high school and before that?

BP: Yeah I can always shoot the ball, you know, uh, it is something me and my dad worked on daily. My shot is wonderful and I was ready to show Wolfpack nation what I can really do.

TRT: Who was the best guard that you played against last year in the ACC that you defended against?

BP: Uh, I would say most definitely R.J.

Davis, um, just him being a veteran guy and him knowing how to run a team and run the offense is just, it's just crazy.

TRT: The entire energy of the Wolfpack nation has changed since the final four run in the ACC Championship. How important is that with the fan support and media attention?

BP: Man, it's, we love it. Uh, you know, especially for me since I've been here since my freshman year, I just like, I just can go back to where we struggled in my freshman year.

We weren't terrible, but we had a bad year in my freshman year and you know, just to see the change and, uh, the support from the fans and just this, this whole community is just crazy. It's a blessing for sure.

TRT: How much does this team work on conditioning?How important is that to this team?

BP: A lot because you know, we play fast.

So to be able to play fast, we have to be in the best shape we can So, um, every day in practice, we're either playing fives, fours, threes, and you know, um, we, we get out there every day and we work hard.

TRT: Has this team already started to bond together? I know it's really early, but with the new guys in, have they already, have you already started to have a bond with these guys to like form a close knit unit?

BP: Yeah.For sure. I feel like that's, that's the most important thing to be able to win, um, win everything this year. I feel like that's something that we, um, touched on early with all the new guys. We made sure that they was comfortable here. And I also, uh, you know, we played against a couple of the transfers that we got and I know one of them, Dontrez Styles. I grew up with Dontrez a lot, um, growing up, so that was an easy transformation for him. But, um, the other guys here, they fit in just as well. Um, everybody want to, wants to know the goal and everybody just wants to win and have a better year than they had last year.

TRT: Do you think this team is going to be able to switch one through five?

BP: We all have trust in our bigs and our front men and what we've seen, what I've seen recently, uh, all our big man, they can guard one through five, so if coach Keatts wants to do that then we’ll be ready for sure.

TRT: So who are the vocal leaders of this team?

BP: Oh, you know, definitely have Michael O'Connell, that's our main general, you know, he runs the offense. Jayden Taylor has a bigger role this year for sure. I feel like everybody is just trying to, uh, you know, just be vocal right now. I feel like the whole team has been doing a good job of trying to be vocal, but, you know, the returning players Dennis Parker, Jayden Taylor, Michael O’ Connell, and Ben Middlebrooks, and myself, we all have a bigger role because we have been here and we have seen it all.

TRT: Do you think that you're more excited for this upcoming season than you've been in previous seasons?

BP: Man, this is, uh, for sure, especially because it's, it's my last year here too.

So you know, last year, I'm trying to make, make it the best year and I feel like that this year is going to be an even better year for everybody.

TRT: last question that I've got is what flavor of ice cream do you like when you win?

BP: Vanilla, vanilla only vanilla too.

I'm a Breon Pass fan and I truly believe that he is going to do great things this season. I have so much respect for how he has conducted himself, and his devotion to NC State is truly something beautiful.



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