CoachSpeak: Mississippi State basketball commitment Nik Weatherspoon

Velma Jackson (MS) High School head coach Anthony Carlyle breaks down what Mississippi State basketball is getting from class of 2017 5-star point guard Nik Weatherspoon.

  • Name: Nik Weatherspoon
  • Classification: 2017
  • High School: Velma Jackson (MS) High School
  • Position: Point Guard
  • HT: WT: 6-foot-2, 175
  • Ranking: 5-Star
  • Schools of Interest: Committed to Mississippi State

Although he is a 5-star talent now, what did you see from Nik when he was in the 9th grade?
"This is my sixth year at Velma Jackson and during my time here I have only had one player who came to high school already athletically gifted and that is Nik. I was excited to work with him because when you bring that to the table, with the way we train and coach, you are only going to get better as a player.

"He then was able to develop the skill part to his game to go along with his athleticism. And that made him into a well-rounded player."

From last year to this year, what aspects of his game have improved the most?
"His confidence level has gone to new heights. That is due to him working on his conditioning and consistently working on improving his jumper. Once you put in the work your confidence grows. Then, when you go out and compete against other top players in the country (in AAU ball) and you have success, then you feel like you belong and you can do it. And your confidence goes to new heights."

Being the point guard on the team, what is his leadership ability like?
"He is a competitor and wants to win. He doesn't mind pushing other players hard to give great effort. That is how he plays on the court. He is relentless. He leads by example. We are just trying to help him improve vocally so he will be a good vocal leader. We are trying to prepare him for the next level where he has to be an even more vocal leader."

What type improvement do you expect from Nik once he gets to Mississippi State?
"One of the things that we have been impressed with from Mississippi State is their weight room and all the technology that they have that is geared toward developing each player. They can cater to each kid's specific needs. It's not like in high school where all the guys are kind of doing the same thing."

How will that improve his game on the court?
"I think his athleticism will go to another level. We all think when he plays he kind of reminds us of a younger (NBA player) Russell Westbrook because he plays so hard each possession on the offensive and defensive ends. And once he gets to Mississippi State, with all that talent he will have around him, he won't have to do as much, which will make his game even better."

What do you expect to see when Nik and Quinndary are playing together at Mississippi State?
"I think they complement each other really well because they are so opposite of each other. Nik is aggressive, relentless. He feels like when he steps on the court nobody will get in his way. Quinndary has that same mentality but his game is so fluid. Sometimes you watch him play and think he is not playing that hard but that is because of how smooth he is. But they have a common goal and that is to win."

What is something that is unique about Nik compared to other high school players?
"He loves to play defense. It is difficult to find a kid that is as highly rated as Nick that actually wants to play defense."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network.

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