“He is an athlete now at 6’8 like Luke Hancock, that’s what type of game he has, but when he loses that (weight) and gets to eight, seven percent body fat he’s going to be explosive and we are going to do it this summer and this is a great class. Best class I’ve had.”
We all know Pitino is prone to hyperbole but saying this is the best class he has had may be closer to the truth than we give him credit for, and I tend to agree with him. The goal going into recruiting was to get “Louisville guys.” With Jordan, Lance, Darius and Malik, I feel Pitino got everything he needs to hang another banner in the YUM Center. Looking forward to seeing these guys with the current team. The future is bright!
JN: Everyone at Louisville was so welcoming, from the coaches to the players, community, and fans. I immediately felt like I was part of a family, and that was important to me. Of course playing for Coach Pitino and a great team was also a bonus.
JMN: It was reported you chose Louisville over Georgia Tech. How close were you to choosing GT?
JN: I really wasn’t close to any decision prior to my visit to Louisville. My family and I had decided to go through the fall looking at schools and meeting with coaches. We took several unofficial visits (USC, Marquette, Northwestern, Seton Hall – to name a few) before starting the official visits with Georgia Tech. Every school was impressive, but when we came to Louisville, we knew it was something special.
JMN: A couple of weeks before you made your decision you released a final list of your top 12 schools including California, Long Beach State, Marquette, NC State, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, USC, Utah, Texas Tech and USF. 12 schools? How many of those 12 really had a chance or was it really just Louisville and Georgia Tech?
JN: It was hard to narrow to the final 12, we were considering all of them. I had sat down with my parents and we made a pros and cons list for each school. The visit at Louisville just ended up being everything we were looking for.
JMN: What jersey number would you like to wear and does it have any significance?
JN: My father used to wear 34, so when I was younger I always tried to get 34. Unfortunately, the schools I played for never had 34, so I always ended up with 33. Over time, 33 became my number – I would like to be 33 at Louisville.
JMN: It has been said that you are best known in the recruiting world as a sharpshooter. Is that fair and would you like to be known for anything else or maybe a combination of characteristics that describe your game?
JN: I would like to be known as an all-around player. I tend to be able to score in a bunch of different ways – perimeter, slashing, midrange – so I don’t mind being known as a shooter. I’m just looking forward to learning and improving at Louisville.
JMN: Do you think a hot dog is a sandwich?
JN: No way.
JMN: How old or what grade were you in the first time you dunked a basketball on a 10 foot goal?
JN: The first time I dunked on a 10 foot hoop was my freshman year in high school. At the time, I was 14 years old.
JMN: Have you talked to Darius, Lance and Malik since you all have signed? Did you know any of them before you signed?
JN: I talked to Darius once and I played against him at Adidas Nations. I also talked to Malik a couple of times after I committed, but I didn’t know him before that. Lance and I got to know each other well and became friends at a few summer camps this past year.
JMN: Living in Buffalo, I assume you are okay with snow? Or do you dislike it like me?
JN: Yeah I am okay with snow. I’m so used to it snowing in the winter it will be weird if there is a winter where I don’t see snow.
JMN: Muhammad Ali is Louisville’s greatest hero. His recent passing, while sad, really educated the younger generation of how great he was both in and out of the ring. What did you learn about Muhammad that you didn’t already know?
JN: I never really knew too much about Muhammad Ali. I knew he was the heavyweight champ, and that he was known for the way he spoke about boxing – “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. After he died I found out that he really seemed to fight for the underdog. He was strong in the ring and compassionate outside the ring.
JMN: Is there anyone on this current Louisville team that you talk to regularly or anyone you are looking forward to learning from next season?
JN: I have talked to Donovan a couple of times. I look forward to learning from everyone once I get there.
JMN: Who helped you make you final decision? Was it all on you or did family play a role in it?
JN: My entire family helped me make the decision, mostly my mom and dad – with the addition of one or two coaches who have been coaching me since before I even played on a major AAU circuit.
JMN: How do you feel about clowns? Scared at all?
JN: Not at all.
JMN: Would you rather give a game winning assist, make game winning shot or have a Sportscenter worthy dunk?
JN: Definitely the game winning shot.
JMN: I read somewhere that you are a volume shooter and this team needs a shooter. How many shots per game do you think you will get as a freshman?
JN: I don’t know how many shots I will get a game, but I will for sure help the team when it comes to making shots.
Most points scored in a game?
Most rebounds in a game?
Most steals in a game?
JMN: What are the 3 most played tracks on your MP3 player or IPhone and who is your favorite artist?
JN: I don’t play one song too much – I like a lot of music, so I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite.
JMN: What NBA player do you most often get compared to and why?
JN: I get compared to Klay Thompson a lot, because of how I shoot and we are almost the same size.
JMN: What talents or hobbies do you have outside of basketball?
JN: I play chess occasionally.
JMN: Favorite NFL, NBA, MLB teams?
JN: Buffalo Bills
Not really a MLB guy.
JMN: Do you have any superstitions or routines that you must do before a game?
JN: Not really.
JMN: Give me one interesting fact about you that not many people know.
JN: My dad coached the Cape Verdean National Team for many years. I was able to travel with him to many African countries to see the team play.
JMN: What color is your toothbrush?
JMN: Here is your chance to give all of your Cardinal family a message. What would you like to say to them?
JN: I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play for Louisville. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Yum!
As always, GO CARDS!