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Nikki Anosike Interview

Nikki Anosike (6'3'',
rising senior, Staten Island, NY)

Johnny Goldfinger: What are
you looking in a school?

Nikki Anosike: Just somewhere
I feel comfortable. It has to be challenging academically. I want
to be challenged on the court and off the court. Just somewhere I
can have fun and win at the same time.

What do you want to study?

I'm going to do pharmacy.

How has the recruiting process gone?

I love it. I do. Just to say you've
been recruited is an honor. How many people can honestly say, in any
sport, that they've been recruited by the top colleges in the
country? You're part of an elite group. It's something that can't
be taken away.

What schools have contacted you?

Duke, U-Conn, Tennessee, Georgia,
Virginia, all the top schools.

How would you describe your game?

My whole game is focused on hard work.
I just try to center every single thing I do on the court, I just
try to center it on working hard. That's my whole game. Anytime you
see me, I'm hustling, I'm running, I'm doing this, I'm doing that.
It's just hard work; that's it.

What positions do you feel comfortable playing?

{Laughs] I don't know. I can do a
lot of different things. I would like to play center. But a lot of
coaches think "oh yeah, center, you're big, you have to stay in
the post." I hate that because, I can post up and I can do all
of that, but at the same time I can make moves to the basket and I
can shoot from the outside. There are different things I can do.
Basically, I just want to be a versatile center. "Center"
is not going to describe what kind of player I am because I can do
more than what most centers can do.

Have any coaches talked to you about a position?

They know that I'm versatile because
I'm in the post some of the game, I'm outside some of the game, I'm
handling the ball some of the game. I'm just doing all different
things. I try to show them everything that I can do. I'm looking
for a coach who will incorporate all of that into my game, not one
that will just put me outside or just put me inside, just having me
do one thing. I'm looking for a coach that will know how to use my
versatility. That's the main thing I'm looking for as far as
basketball goes.

Is there any particular player you admire or enjoy watching?

Every player here! No one gets to
this level without working hard. And like I said before, everything
I do is focused on hard work. I respect any player who works hard.
I don't care if you're the worst player in the country or the best
player in the country, if you work hard, then I'm your fan.

Are there any college or pro players?

Listening to Cynthia Cooper,
yesterday. [Laughs] She just makes you feel it. She just has the
right words. A lot of people know what they want to say and they've
been through it, but they don't know how to communicate it to others.
She knew how to send a message in a way that it will stick with you,
until your career is over and after that, when your life starts, when
you have kids, when you have a family and all of that. Just
listening to her story, her whole life. Her mother had eight kids
and was a single parent; her father walked out on her. That's my
life. My mother has eight kids; she's a single parent; our father
walked out on us and [we were left] growing up in a bad neighborhood.
A lot of things she was saying, it was my life. I just felt like I
was listening to my life. It's a lot easier to carry things with you
when someone you can relate to is expressing it to you. She just
really touched me. A lot of the things she was saying, I saw in
myself. And just the fact that she was able to buy her mother a
house and buy her mother a car. She said that was her main goal and
that's my goal. My mother did everything she could do for us. If I
was able to do all of that for her, that's one of my goals. She just
touched me because a lot of the things she was saying I felt that was
my life.

Everyone knows about the basketball at this camp. What about the
other things, like the speakers and the leadership development?

Even if you leave here with one thing
that will stay with you for the rest of your life, that's a plus.
That's one more thing that you learn, that you wouldn't have learned
if you stayed home. You can't go wrong. You can't go wrong having
these extra programs teaching us leadership, teaching us how to do
certain things, teaching us about substance abuse and all of that.
You can't go wrong with teaching that because it's never too late to
learn. You can't go wrong with learning more. It can never hurt.
At a lot of other camps I went to, it was just strictly basketball;
three games a day, basketball, basketball, basketball. It was like
you just wanted to throw up basketball because you got sick of it.
They have [diverse programs] here and that's one of the main reasons
I wanted to come here. You're not only on the court, you're learning
not only about basketball. In college, it's not only basketball.
You've got to do your work in school; you've got to do your work off
the court. You've got to handle yourself better than most of the
other people because people know who you are. It's good that they're
teaching us those kinds of things.

Is there any particular player you pattern your game after?

No. Never.

You just want to be Nikki?

I want to be me. There are a lot of
good women basketball players. [But] I want to be me. I want little
girls to come up and say, "I want to be just like her." I
just pattern myself on hard work. My idol is hard work. I can't say
I pattern my game after anyone.