Interview with Ndudi Ebi's coach

<i>IC</i>'s David Thompson spoke with Greg Glen, the head coach of Westbury Christian, which features junior wing Ndudi Ebi, a Carolina target.

Inside Carolina: Coach, tell us a little bit about your background in basketball.

Coach Glen: Any good that's happened to me, I've got to give credit Coach Don Myers and David Lipscomb. I didn't know anything about basketball. I mean, I played it but I can't say I knew about it until I got to that point. So much of the philosophy that he helped instill in me is what I try to help relate to these kids. He is a coach's coach and he is now at Northern State University and I owe everything to him.

And one of the things he did was he did a good job of studying other people and taking the best things from theme and knowing that not all the good ideas are all going to work for you but if they fit into your philosophy in terms of what's happening, you've got something pretty special.


Coach Glen

IC: Coach, what stands out to a person watching Ndudi's game?

Coach Glen: I think the thing that's going to stick out to you right away is how skilled he is. I think that the way he approaches the game—he has good balance and the emotions and the intellect to go with the game. So I think you're going to notice someone that knows how to play within himself but has so many skills, he can do things, for being a tall person. [He's] very highly skilled.

IC: How long have you been coaching Ndudi and how long have you been involved in his development?

Coach Glen: He's been at Westbury Christian since the seventh grade, so obviously through our junior high program and on up. I've had the chance to watch him come up through here, but actually since he was a freshman and working with our high school program, was the first time we had to work with him.

IC: Tell us about Ndudi's defense.

Coach Glen: Well, because he's so active, he's got good feet and he's very active. And his long arms, he knows how to play that to his strength and so he causes a lot of problems. Today, we were able to put a little zone press out there and he was on the front of that. Obviously he changes the trajectory of some passes. And his ability to move quickly and position himself helped that quite a bit.

IC: At what position do you primarily use Ndudi? Project a bit into the future also for college.

Coach Glen: He's been so coachable that I think that, even as a freshman, he learned how to play inside first. And he has continually worked his way out. I think, for the college level or above, I think he's going to have the opportunity to play that three position and I think that's what those kinds of schools see him doing and I think that has a lot to do with how skilled he is and how well he can do things with his feet.

Hopefully, with what we're trying to do, I think it complements what he does. Today, we were playing a "five out offense" and him facing the basket poses a lot of problems for others.

IC: Is he putting on weight, still growing and getting stronger?

Coach Glen: As fast as he's grown, it's hard to put weight on someone that's growing, the way he's been growing. But I think his body frame, it's obvious to see, it's going to be able to carry more weight. He works so hard. He's not afraid of the weight room. He's the hardest working kid we've got at practice. He's probably going to beat people at sprints more times than not so the weight, as he matures, his body and metabolism allow him to carry that. I think that's going to come in due time.

IC: Is he still growing?

Coach Glen: I can't speak to that. I don't know. I hope so but you never know. Even if he never grew another centimeter, I don't think it would affect his basketball ability or not. Obviously, if he did, it would be a complement [to his play].

IC: How does Ndudi show leadership with your team? What are some of the intangibles besides the skills?

Coach Glen: That's been a new role for him with this year. We had a lot of senior leadership last year. Now he's a junior, he's being asked to fill that role. He's been selected by his teammates to be a captain on this team.

I think he leads more with his competitiveness and his desire to excel than probably anything else. Obviously, a small word coming from him, coming to our team means a lot. So he doesn't have to say a lot to get his point across.

IC: What improvements have you seen Ndudi make from last year to this year?

Coach Glen: I think he's made great strides and improvement and I think that's what's exciting is because of his work ethic and when you watch him practice, you wouldn't think he's complacent with where he's at in basketball. I think he'd be the first to tell you he's got a lot to improve on and he's working very hard at it. So, as long as that attitude prevails, you're going to see an upside of him that he hasn't come close to tapping yet.

IC: What area are you working with him on right now?

Coach Glen: He's where the ball is going to go in a tough situation. The game today is real typical in that, he wasn't even our leading scorer but he was our leading player in so many ways. Everybody's clamping down to stop him and his ability to be able to find the open man and to do those extra things, like with rebounding and just taking care of the basketball. We like to see it in his hands.

IC: You mentioned that Coach Wojcik has been out to see Ndudi and North Carolina is showing interest in him. Could you talk a little bit about North Carolina's recruitment of Ndudi?

Coach Glen: Obviously, they're such a quality program and, talking with Ndudi, he has mentioned North Carolina as being a school that he's very interested in. Again, speaking about Doug, I know what a quality person he is, obviously with a reputation through Dean Smith and North Carolina, it's a stellar school and we're honored that they're recruiting him.

IC: Could you compare Ebi's game to anyone's? This can be a tough question at times.

Coach Glen: No, I really couldn't and I don't mean to sell that short but it is a tough question and I do appreciate what Ndudi said in that I think he's going to have his own identity. I don't think he really tries to look at one certain player and try to mimic everything. I think he studies the game in such a way, he sees what one person does well and he tries to add that into his game and takes a little bit from all the best. That's one of the things that sets him apart.

IC: Who else, besides Ndudi, has come through your program and has been recruited pretty heavily like him?

Coach Glen: Well, even some of the players that Ndudi's played with. We have Chris Rhodes who's at Ole Miss right now. Stanley Asumnu who has just signed on with Tennessee and Andy Ikeakor who is also at Tennessee. A couple other good players, Jaman Deruso, Jaman Collins—he's at a prep school right now but he'll be going on to play college ball. And Chris Caudle, he's over at Austin College. Even in the recent times since Ndudi's been' playing, we've got several kids who are out there playing college basketball.

IC: How do you help players like Ndudi who are dealing with an intense amount of scrutiny?

Coach Glen: I've got a lot of that credit to his dad and to his family and how they handle it. He doesn't get overly excited. I think he sees through a lot of that stuff. He's not been hard to coach through that stuff. He has seen how other kids have handled the recruiting process and kept it kind of simple and just let his "yes" be "yes" and his "no" be "no" and not let things get complicated. It's a tribute to him.


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