Ndudi Ebi Interview

<i>Inside Carolina</i>'s David Thompson spoke with Ndudi Ebi at the Nike Academy Invitational in Houston, Texas. Ebi, a 6-10 forward from Westbury Christian (Texas), is one of UNC's top junior targets.

Inside Carolina: Ndudi, tell us a little about this past summer and playing AAU ball. How did it go?

Ebi: I'm satisfied with the outcome but I don't think I did as well because I was injured. I had problems but I'm surprised that everybody thought I did well. As far as me, I don't think I did well.

IC: Who is some of the toughest competition that you faced this summer on an individual basis?

Ebi: I'll have to say Amare Stoudemire. He was real tough. That was at the Nike camp.

IC: Have you had an opportunity to play against Sean May?

Ebi: Yes I have. When I went up against Sean, it was real tough. Kendrick [Perkins] was at a funeral because his grandmother died. I had nobody to substitute out so I played the whole game. I fouled out. But it was real tough because he got to get his breath and get out and I was up and down the court. But I felt good about the situation.

IC: What's your present height and weight?

Ebi: I'm listed at 6-9 ½, but with shoes you might as well say 6-10. I'm 190 pounds.

IC: How do you feel about your game, Ndudi?

Ebi: I think I know how to pass. I think I know how to pass real well. I can see the court when I have the ball and I feel my greatest strength is the ability to adjust. I really enjoy playing defense. This year's been fun playing defense because it's a challenge to me.

IC: If you could improve any part of your game at this moment, with the snap of a finger, what would that be?

Ebi: Probably if I could get my left hand at the same level as my right. I'd probably get my right hand there because you can never go wrong with skills. So getting it the same level as my right.

IC: Do you play with your back to the basket often?

Ebi: I play with my back to the basket but this year is like a new role. I haven't really found a way to adjust to the triple teams. As far as the triple teams I don't have to score—I can kick it out. But, as far as playing with my back to the basket, [I do] if it's a one-on-one or double team… It's just a new role so I'm not supposed to score on three people the right thing to do is kick it out.

IC: What's more important to you than basketball?

Ebi: To be honest, besides God and my family, I just try to get better just to improve so I can be good in basketball. Because I really take it seriously and hopefully the outcome will be good. Everything I've asked for, God's given to me so I really thank Him for that because, seriously, everything I've asked for, He's given to me.

IC: What person do you most look up to in life?

Ebi: I look up to my parents because they have an excellent work ethic. I really thank them for that.

IC: You're going to be faced with some tough decisions about school. Who's helping you think through the decisions about where to go to school?

Ebi: Right now it's not a big deal but, hopefully when the time comes, it's going to be my family, Coach Glen and the coaching staff. They know a lot about the people. Hopefully we're going to get together when the time comes. It's too soon to tell.

IC: What's important to you about a school that you would go to?

Ebi: The schools that are on my list, academically they're really good schools. Hopefully I'll major in sports marketing or business.

IC: Tell us what you think about the University of North Carolina and how they're handling your recruitment.

Ebi: Right now, they just made a known fact that they want me. That's about it and they send me a letter here and there, but as far as talking to them, I really don't know.

IC: Have any of their coaching staff been to see you play?

Ebi: Yes they have. I saw the head coach at some of my games at the Nike camp, my last three games. Coach Wojcik came down to Houston to a practice.

IC: If you could have a dream career, what would it look like?

Ebi: Really, make sure my teammates are well looked out for. Hopefully they'll have a good college career and I'll have a good college career. Hopefully after college, I know it's not possible for all of them to go to the next level, but hopefully so. Make sure my teammates are doing good outside of basketball and then I can take care of myself. I have to make sure everybody around me is happy first because I can handle me not being happy.

IC: What are your interest and hobbies?

Ebi: I used to collect basketball cards and then they got stolen. It was a real good collection. Now I just stay home, talk on the phone with my friends, Trey and Treyce [teammates]. Basically we hang out a lot and Ugo, [Ihekweazu, a teammate] we just keep it within the team. We go to the mall—we just hang out and work out together and wrestle. Just kickin' with my teammates.

IC: Before a game, whose music do you listen to to get pumped up?

Ebi: Right now, I like to listen to R. Kelly World's Greatest. After you listen to them you just feel like going out and it gives you the confidence to do your thing. But as far as music, I like Jay Z. I like all R&B gospel music but I listen to pretty much everything.

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