The CBA Podcast

Kon Knuepple talks about his faith , family support, and what it takes to be the best in the state of Wisconsin. And oh ya he is also a Duke Commit!!!

What is The CBA Podcast?

Topics for Club, High School and AAU Basketball

You're listening to the CBA podcast. CBA podcast is brought to you by Chapman Basketball Academy. Your hosts are Terry Massey, Max Johansson and Joe Chapman. Here we go. Uh, Wisconsin Lutheran just won state champion and we happen to have their star player also ranked number one in the state of Wisconsin, Continental. Welcome. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. Yeah. Uh, so we do this podcast to kind of give.

younger kids in the club kind of perspective on what they need to do. Let's start young Khan. What does a young Khan look like? How do you get into basketball club? Was basketball always your sport or your multi sport or? Yeah, so real early, my parents forced me to play like kindergarten, started playing upward, upward. Yeah. And I sucked. I hated it. Didn't love it at all.

And just kind of got a little bit better by your like the first year I ducked from the ball the one time I got passed. So, yeah, just experimenting with a bunch of different sports, played baseball, basketball, football. And that was pretty much it. Those three growing up. You have a very like when you say forced into basketball, you have a very like basketball family, right? Yeah. Goals parents like talk a little bit like when you say force you like just in the gym all the time or like you're playing this eventually.

Yeah. I wouldn't like they definitely made me play early on. Yeah. Just like you kind of grow to love something. So like parents make people do something because they want try to see if they would like it. Yeah. I really never liked it until about second grade. Yeah. Third grade. And that's when I really like started reading basketball books.

and playing NBA Jam in 2K. NBA Jam. What was your first basketball book? Like the Mike Lupica series? No, like Encyclopedias. Yeah. Like NBA. If you guys only knew what video games were, it was a.

Charlotte Horner Hornets was the big NBA video game, you know, Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning against I think it was Jordan and NBA Jam. Yeah. So Jordan wasn't on there. So it was Pippen and Horace Grant. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

That's the same trajectory like I talk about my kids on this podcast. And in first grade, we played them up on a third, fourth grade level. And kind of stories kind of ring bells to me because when the boys got out there the first time, my wife's family was like, what are they doing? The coach, Coach Appleby, who won two state championships for Brown Deer as a boys, AAU coach. And he's like, go run to the corner. And Joseph ran out the door.

in a corner in a hallway and was like, I'm in a corner. He's told me to sit in the corner. So we're sitting in a crowd like, oh, my God, this is a they're not going to be good basketball players. And but, you know, coming from basketball family, that discipline and structure at an early age, talk about your your your mom who played, your dad who played, your uncle who played. How did that make you want to evolve in the sport? Yeah, so.

My mom played at Green Bay and my dad played at WLC. And they're pretty, I think my dad's not the all time leading scorer anymore, but my mom still is. And so that was definitely encouraged to keep getting better. And I think it was like fifth grade. I was outside. We lost in a tournament game. And I was pretty good. I was like the best player on the team. But I wasn't really putting the time in like I probably should have. I mean, I don't know. I was in fifth grade. That's a point. But.

I just looked up, me and my mom just had a conversation and just were like, all right, we're going to get good at this. So from that point on, it was like every day. Yeah. And I've known you since probably that fifth, sixth grade. That's when CBA first started. And you were with closed gym. And you wasn't the tallest guy on your team. You eventually shot up. But your skill set was still one of the highest on the team, even at that grade.

And I thought Andy Monfrey done a great job with that group of guys. He was a great coach and mentor to you guys. And he had the right type of temperament for that group. Because at CBA, that was the group we were looking at. It's like, oh, they do it the right way. The guys play the right way. They had Bennett on the team. He's going to trash talk and play hard. And we had some of those guys, too. So it was kind of fun to kind of go against a team that you can kind of.

they're on the top of the pyramid. It's like, oh, that's who we're chasing, something like that.

So, you know, I see Khan in sixth or seventh grade, they're playing three on three at Homestead. And, you know, I'm there watching and the guys kept talking about this Khan kid. I was like, okay, he's like four inches smaller than almost all of you guys. Who is this guy? So I ended up watching the three on three and I'm talking to Tim Franks at the time. He's like, that's the best player in our class. So I'm trying to get the landscape because I'm from Chicago. I'm like, oh, okay, now I'm watching, I can see. And then I'm big.

on dating to mating. I tell Max this all the time. And so I'm looking around, I'm like, all right, so who is this kid's parents? Because his skill set's very high, but I don't know him. So I was like, oh, they pointed out, like, that's his mom, that's his dad. They run closed gym. I'm like, OK, OK. They both played, OK. It's like, you know, eventually those are the type of kids that got the genetics, that got the discipline and structure at a young age. They already got an AAU program.

Were you playing closed gym at the time with your dad already? When did you start playing grown man? I'm glad you asked. We got a league game tonight. I started playing during COVID. Okay, 2019. Yeah, so like that spring. Okay. So I wasn't very good. Okay. That's your freshman year going to sophomore or sophomore? Going into freshman year. Going into freshman year. And the eighth grade.

He says he wasn't very good, but then Tim's telling you and what grade was that? Fifth, sixth grade. Fifth, sixth. This is the best kid in our class. No, no, he was going against old, old guys. College guys come back and play in there. So yeah, I was probably one of the worst at that point. But then it was about a year and a half. And I was like.

pretty close to the best. What did playing in that teach you? Did it just give you like, oh, this is where I'm at. This is where I need to be. What were your main takeaways when you first started playing in that league? I just learned how to play the right way. Sharing the ball. And mean, old men, you can't. I mean, I don't want to say old. We'll clip that. We'll cut it. Don't worry. What days do you play? What days do you play, Joel? We play. Yeah, yeah, we got to get Put them on your team. Yeah, yeah. No, we can't go against them. We got to put them on our team. You and Travis and Conner.

Overseas guys, yeah. Just the moving without the ball is key. Just like that's so important in that style of basketball. Yeah. So but that's important in all styles of basketball. Like what do do when you don't have the ball because you're not getting the ball all the time. So that was always big. And then just communication.

Defensively offensively that stuff like that and that in that sense is huge because you take that away to your high school team and then you instill that there Yeah, and that's big. Where'd you go to grade school st. John's? Waltosa? Okay, so it's always been a parochial grade school middle school and then you went to Wisconsin high school in So when did you realize like playing against older guys helped you slow the game down?

when you play against people your own age. Like you play like an old man now already in a sense of like you play like a Luca joker. The game is slower to you than most high school kids. When did that start after you started playing with the older guys and you brought that back to your game? I would say that definitely helped. I was always kind of a little bit.

I was smarter with the ball always, trying to play off two feet, making the right play. And then playing with the older guys, too, just that really grew. Because they would just truck you. Yeah. Like, you've got to be ready to go. So I think that really helped develop that more, more so, especially as I got more athletic. Keeping that.

keeping that pace. So yeah, playing with the older guys definitely helped that out. Yeah, and I think that's pretty cool. The kids of this generation are looking up to your discipline and structure. My boys watch YouTube of everything they can find of you. And we were at the game where you made the block, so we're going to talk about that later. But people don't know how athletic you are. When you're watching, you don't really see it until you have to do it.

because you're one of those guys, you don't have to do it all the time. You play off of two feet, you play with your body, you play angles really well, so you don't have to show those bursts a lot of the times. So when you do see it, it's just like, where did that come from? The crowd's like, where does that come from? But we see it all the time with an AP. We see him jumping around and doing different things and working out with Deener. But talk about your journey.

from seventh, eighth grade when it started to become serious, getting that first recruiting letter, and how did that inspire you after you realized that I was pretty good, and then I started to get college looks. But also, I want to talk about, after that question, about the pressures of maintaining.

at a young age, you've been number one player for sixth, seventh grade. That pressure of maintaining that, you know, dive into those if you can. Yeah. So seventh, eighth grade, that's one of the best in the state. And that just you just want to keep getting better at that point. And then it's about I want to be an impact player on varsity as a freshman. That's kind of what your thought process from there. And that was something like I would work with Monfery and that was big. Like you want to be able to.

help the varsity team anyway. So you want to get some minutes, be a contributor. You don't have to start, but you want to be a varsity contributor. And so that was kind of what motivated me through that seventh and eighth grade time period. And then high school, high school season, you just tryouts. You just want to be on the team. You want to be able to play. And I just remember the first day after tryouts, after the team was decided, coach was like, he wrote on like,

what the roles of everybody on the team would be. And he put starters minutes by my name. Oh, no. Yeah. As a freshman. Yes. Oh, so that was big. So that was big. And then after that season, we lose to Milwaukee. That sucks. And the hand Milan, right? Yeah. Yeah. They had a squad. Yeah. That was a big time squad. Really, really good. Really, really good team. And that that's a motivator. So when you when you talk about like getting the recruiting letters. Mm hmm.

You're still thinking about that and you want to get better. You want to beat Pee -Wah -Kee. You want to beat that team. That was what they were for me personally and for our team. This is the team we have to beat. This is how that made me so much better. Right. Thinking about them. So.

When I would get like I got my first offer from my uncle. Yeah. People are like, oh, whatever. Which is like, yeah, I had no idea that was coming or anything. Yeah. And then went to that Marquette team camp and got an offer from them. And then I was like. I got to get a lot better. That's the first thing I told my parents. I get a lot better. So. Having those motivators of I got to get better, because if I want to play at that level, I got to be better than I am now. And.

listen to Piawaki every year. Having those two things really, really drove me.

through the high schools. So how many years in a row did you lose to P walk three, three, three straight time. And this was number four. You're seeing you're playing against him on your last game. That's pretty cool moment. You got anything, Coach? I don't want to dominate this because I can. One thing I noticed about his game when he goes to the hoop, how low he gets the only other person I see that drives like that is Michael. Yeah, they both get to the rim the same way. Get low, get to the rim. And it's just it's fun.

to watch. Yeah and I talk about that with with my boys a lot because we watch a lot of high school games and they were always watching the better players of getting your shoulders low sometimes you do it there's loads sometimes you do it to get your shoulders past the player but not actually explode to finish. You're setting them up for playing against old guys you setting them up to go back the other way a lot you know like you play off to you come back in front of me cool.

off the glass. And it's just so fun and watching. Now we're talking about he's doing this to.

you know, guys his age or older guys, he was doing this on the EYBL level. The best high school basketball that you can play on, leading the EYBL in scoring at an efficient rate too. It wasn't like he's jacking shots. This is against the best players in the country that he was doing that to. And so for me, those are the type of players when you're a youth player that you want to, you know, analyze a little bit like, okay, I can pick up little things from their games because that's what we

all did, you high school college, you're looking at things to add from Novak game, from Deaners game, from Wade, and you put it inside your own game. It won't be as good as them, but you can put it, you know, little things that they do. So I think that's pretty cool that you can see every year you put different things in your game. And we call Tim Frank's Larry Bird of the North Shore. But I think you're like the Larry Bird of the state, you know, because that's you guys play like, you know,

Larry Bird, you know, it's just it's fun to see because that was my one of my favorite players playing so just to see guys You know still play like that. You just don't see that in high school anymore

So talk about your season this year some of the goals that you had for your team obviously to get past P walkie But you had a very tough schedule This year so talk about why you played tough or stuff schedule you went on the road and played a lot of good teams, too So let's talk about your season a little bit. Yeah, I just want to finish it off with that Would you said about ten? Yeah About me and Tim and we probably have the worst highlight tapes

Is this efficient? It's just like two foot pump fake layup.

sure some chart makes sense. Some charges. Some charges. It's so funny to watch those guys play. You played each other this year. Last year is just like, you know, and from the naked eye is like, how are these guys scoring the ball? Why they so efficient? But, you know, the real basketball players are like, man, those guys are special. Just look how they're playing the game and you play off two feet. So the guys in a paint, you know, they're trying to jump and block shots. You're just like, go ahead, go past me. It's going to lay it up.

the glass but then when you see those explosion clips like

Wait a minute, where did that shit come from? You know, jumping off two feet, bang. And just seeing those highlights, it makes you put it in perspective like, no, I can do this and that, but I prefer this game because that's the longevity game. You know, the athleticism, you know, that's hit or miss with athletes. But to be able to play the game the right way is very effective by playing with older people, of learning how to play without the ball. There were times in this state,

tournament where they tried to press up on you and you got off of it. You got your UCLA action, got you in a post. They come and double, boom, make the right play. So some of that stuff that I watch for some of these guys is like, that's next level stuff. Going back to your season, you guys went undefeated, right? Yeah. So that's a pretty big deal, right? So what game out of this whole season, I mean, yeah, you have Pee -Wah -Kee on your radar. Is there another team that you had on your radar, like, we got to get by these guys, too?

Yeah, we lost to the pier two years in a row. So we wanted to go up there and we knew that was going to be tough. Yeah, and they won 40 something in a row. 42. 42 in a row and you guys went in there and beat them at the pier. That had to be a statement like we can do that this year. Yeah, we led end to end too. Yeah. We were up the entire game. It was a...

It was less of the team game that you probably saw in the state championship. I think I had 22 in the first half, or the 26. So it was not the style we want to play. But I played pretty well. I don't want to cut you off, but he doesn't speak highly of himself a lot. That's just who he is.

They don't have a player that can guard you on that team because Zach is smaller, six to eight, and Will is too tall. So it's like, okay, I am the mismatch today. Sometimes as a great player, it's you got to go do it, because you're the mismatch on any given day. So in that game, particularly, it was like, you got to go because either you're going to dominate Zach in the post or you're going to take Will off the dribble and make decisions from there. So having 22 out of the 26 wasn't from a

that's something you had to do, for the team to relax the team. And after their team is relaxed, now everybody get a little feeling from it. So I think that the peer game set you guys up for the rest of your season. I watched the nickel a game. There's another guy there that's probably going to be ranked pretty good next year. Talk about a little bit about going against another guy that level and Davian Hannah and stuff. And I thought you guys played a really good game and stuff. Talk a little bit about.

going against a guy who's probably going to be at your level next year. Yeah, I love the challenge of playing another good player, but also guarding him, which is what I did a lot this year, is guarding the best player. Yes. Yeah, you and Tim went at it at Homestead. It wasn't that. Yeah, we switched everything. I wish I could have guarded him a little bit more.

Logan knows Logan and flush and our team knows he Tim was giving them buckets. Yeah. And as a good player, you hate that as a scout because I knew like they switch everything. So I waited a right matchup. That's who I'm attacking. You know, like come set the balls. Great. I know the scout reports, switch it all. I'm attacking you or cons going to get a two minute break real quick. It's time for me to catch my rhythm. You know, that's what good players do. You try to find your rhythm against other players before the main guy is on you.

So that was a good testament of that game. One thing I'm noticing, I mean, I just met you. I've watched you play. You're pretty humble on the court. You're extremely humble now, from what I can tell. What keeps you grounded? What keeps you humble? My faith, probably. Probably most. I mean, I've been raised this way to try to be humble about my abilities and let my game do the talking. Or.

I mean, I won't tell you that I'm humble. I'll try to just let my personality show that. But yeah.

My savior was humble, and he taught us to show humility. So I try to do that to the best of my ability. Let's talk about you're in here all the time, but you also have some of your siblings in here with you. Talk about that relationship with your brothers going through the weight room, going through the basketball journey with them. It's fun. Cater's with me most of the time now. They're going to start high school workouts pretty soon here, so I don't know how much he'll be out here. But having those guys with me is really fun.

I enjoy just the drives, the drives out here where we'll sit and in silence for sometimes. Sometimes we won't say any words. Just look out the window and sometimes it's fighting in the back. Kinston and Cash are going at it. As you're the driver, are you like you're disciplining them on the way out here? Like, are you playing the playing the parent role there? Yeah. So like with Cajer.

It was my first time playing on a team with him or being with him. So we shared a really special moment after the championship. Gave him a hug. Just said, I really enjoyed playing with you. I'll miss you, buddy. And we started crying a little bit. That's awesome. Yeah, I enjoy hanging around those guys. They're starting to be a.

had a little more personality coming out of them as they're growing up. And yeah, they're moving up a division next year, right? Yeah. Yeah. I don't think that's right. Like, I don't I don't know.

why they should do that. They're moving more than that. They're walking to walk you to, right? You know, that's so weird that because you're winning. Oh, let's move you. High school has some pretty big ebbs and flows with just part of it. Now, now cons going and now you want to move them up like that. I think you can protest. You can't. I think you can. I wonder how lenient they'll be on. Yeah. You don't think so?

It's weird that they do that, but I want to go back to your brothers and how that process started, because we all learn from our siblings, our mother and father. You've been fortunate to have two great figures in your life that pushed you to set a standard of discipline, structure. After school, go do this, go eat this, go relax your body, go hang out when you need to, get to the gym. Now passing that down to

to your brothers is a huge thing. I remember talking to some of your brothers, Kager, and I'm like, hey, what's up, man? It was like three years ago. He's like, he didn't say much back. And Khan's like, that's just who he is. He doesn't really talk. And it's like every year they get more comfortable. They get more comfortable. And they starting to, the biggest thing that I see kids like you do to their siblings is,

give them the culture that you've learned, you know, the discipline, the structure, the, this is what you need to be successful. Even if you never reach the level that I reach, this is how I got there. These are the steps that it takes to be a successful person. And being a successful basketball player is something that is the light at the end of the tunnel. But to do this every day, you're gonna be a successful.

And I see that from your brothers every day. It's like they started to like, okay, this is what I need to do. These are the right people I need to be around. Obviously that eighth, ninth grade, 10th grade, you gotta decide which avenue you're going down, the wrong path. It can easily shift over. And I don't care how good your school is or what, it's always gonna be knuckleheads and people doing the wrong stuff. That's just school, you know, so.

to have that discipline and structure that we're setting, that you're setting for your brothers, that I'm setting for my boys, is what's gonna lead them down to be successful in whatever they get into. But talk about how your parents did that for you a little bit. They used to take you to the gym, and you used to drive in a van, and I used to see you guys come out like the Brady Bunch. Everybody used to come out of there like, damn, everybody's in there. They'd be driving all around the country.

in his van and they all pop out like, let's go. And DJ's dad was like, yeah, they used to bring like pee bottles on the road so they didn't have to stop. So it's like, this is a true basketball family. This is what they breathe. It's like, no, we're not stopping. We got to go. Right. So talk about your faith, your parents, how that like.

you know, shaped you to the person you are, you know? Yeah, I mean, it all started just them raising me in Jesus and knowing, knowing my savior, bringing me to church, sending me to private school, the Lutheran school, learning about God and growing my faith. And that's where that that that starts like that discipline and and.

knowing how to love and show that to other people, knowing how to treat other people. That starts from that. And I'm very, very thankful my parents did that for me. And as you grow and you have a family and you can pass that on. So that's something that's generational. It's not just one generation that stops. So that was huge. And just to share that with brothers too.

That was cool. And my parents are so supportive. I mean, we'd go to the gym and they'd rebound. Yeah. So when I said I started in fifth grade shooting every day, that's where we started. We started going to the gym every day. And then eventually got to lifting. But I started in fifth grade and my brother Kidman was like five.

He started going too. So we all started going. He's just like, run around. Right, right. But he's been in the gym every day since like, since he was five. And we were talking about that with Steve Novak today. He was like, you know, his dad was the head coach at Brown Deer for over 23 years. He's just in the gym all the time because his dad's coaching him. And he's like, you know, that's the love of the game started. Just being in the gym, he's like eating candy off the floor. Just like, but I wasn't, you know, I'm just there watching the guys and picking up what they're doing. And that's what we're doing.

we want to do for our kids is just give them what we've been taught, you know, through the game, through our faith and through different people is and that's what I see like from you. I do want to talk about a little bit. I know your mom got inducted to the Green Bay Hall of Fame. You're in the middle of your season to like talk about how cool was that for her? You know, what's that 25, 27 years later to be inducted? No, she was inducted. She got her jersey. She got her jersey retired. So.

That had to be a cool moment for her and for your family with all her kids there Just to go through that moment. Yeah, it was really cool We have a couple my dad's had a couple of like her VHS tapes. Yeah So we watch those sometimes like for my like he did that for like my mom's birthday and

So yeah, it's just cool just to be sure mom was a beast. Yeah. And that's so cool to like you have a family tree of really good players. And that's very supportive of you. Just like your uncle, Jeff Nogard, who is the coach of the Blizzard. And you play for them, play for him for a while. And he's always supported you regardless of what team you played on or whatnot. He never was like, you need to be here. And I thought that was very cool.

cool for an uncle to allow you to grow and be a part of different things. Because you don't see that. The great players, you don't see that because they always got someone trying to pull at them to come do this or that. So it was very reassuring that our best player in the state was guided the right way.

And you don't have that a lot because people underneath you, they wasn't necessarily like that. People played for three, four teams, they were.

going out of the state to play, come back. So just to see someone stick it through and just play with his peers, play with people he didn't go to, Main Street or MacIrvin. You stay with closed gym into eighth grade. And then you went on to Phenom. All right. So talk about that transition of playing on the EYBL level from closed gym level. Yeah, it was definitely a step up. Yeah. It was really exciting.

to do that we were really like our guys were really really like Nick would always talk to me about that like we're gonna U .I .B .L. like fourth grade.

So that was definitely kind of like a, this is really cool moment.

So playing with that and playing against the best players in the world, I guess, is the world. Yep. Which is a little weird. So how did you feel like you stacked up? That had to be the coolest moment. Yeah. All your work and like, definitely, definitely. That's the guy that's number five in the country. It's time for me to go at him. How do you feel after that ninth grade going into 10th grade? Like, oh, I'm just up definitely gave me a.

some more confidence. Yeah. As far as about my game. Like the guys in Wisconsin are criminally underrated. I agree. I agree. Like it's it's hard. Like I led the U .I .B. on scoring for two years in a row. Yeah. And it was. I like I average more points in that than high school. It was it was hard. I don't know. Maybe it's just because high school is a little different. But yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like the guys.

here are just so fundamentally sound right that the stuff I would do and try to pull off like pump fakes and yes are flying and trying to get blocks we're taking charges yeah yeah like that stuff all translated so well to you I BL like cuz we're like one of the only teams that's doing that like yeah because we don't have the high flyers and right and the the really really good athletic players right so we that stuff was what we've

had to rely on. Yeah.

And that made you appreciate that a little bit more, all that stuff a little bit more. On the EYBL circuit, tons of NBA players around, almost like celebrities row sometimes in the games. Do you have a cool moment of someone that you met at one of those EYBL, like the Peach Jam, or running into Kevin Durant, or any of those guys? Do you a good story from that? 15U LeBron. We were playing LeBron's son. OK. And LeBron pulled up. Court side? Did you say hi to him? No, we didn't. We beat him, though. Nice.

You put up 20 and say something to Braun? No? I remember. I Probably not. Probably not. God. We almost had him to say, like, we almost got him out of the humble thing with the scoring. And he bit his tongue. Definitely not saying anything to Braun. We just won. I didn't do much. We just won. No, I did not. I did not say anything. I remember in that game, I shot a layup right at the buzzer in the second half. We were up by like 12.

I shot a layup to get the point spread. Yeah. To get into peach jam. Yeah. You need that. That stuff's wild. It's wild how they do it. It's really dumb. Yeah. So I have a question, Joe. As a director, you have someone of Con's ability, right? You know he's special.

Do they need to play at that EYBL level? You know what I mean? To go where he's going? I say a couple things. I think you do. I think you at least need to try it and see where you're at. And if you have a player on your team and you see that, you're going to? You got to let them go, especially the good directors. And I've known Con since sixth, seventh grade. And I never came up to him like, hey, you need to come play for us. If you play the game, you don't do that.

you organically build relationships with guys, regardless of who they play for, because basketball is a fraternity. It's not about, you know, if you do it the right way. We've all seen it done the wrong way, but you do it the right way. Relationships just flourish without whoever you play for. So a guy like McNabb, who played for us from sixth or eighth grade, it was his opportunity to go play with these guys. It wasn't no...

don't do it, like what are you doing? But no, it's like, you got, that's the biggest stage. Any kid from, like he just said with Nick Janowski in fourth grade, they wanna be on that level. And it's your job as a director is to get them to that level, you know? And then it's your job is to, if they don't succeed at that level, bring them back home.

you know, or if they do succeed, you support them through that, you know, whatever they're doing. So I think as a director and you have a kid shooting for the stars, you got to allow them to to do that. If not, you don't you didn't really play the game. It's really about the, you your relationship with the kid more so than their future. We talk about on the past, Joe's talked about people that have influenced them. Your high school coach used to pick you up at home and drive. Besides your father, was it your high school coach who was the

one of the coaches that you can say, yeah, that guy helped me a lot. Because I had so many different coaches kind of early. So Coach Walls was, we knew him for a while before I was in high school. He's a really good guy. Yeah. Really good man. So I wouldn't say he was like a father figure, just because.

known him so long and he was kind of my he's my parents friend so it was like okay we just we trusted him but it was probably the guys that were earlier on like a German the Glocklin yep or my uncle Jeff or an Andy Moffrey yeah kind of just those guys really guided me and

and taught me how to play basketball the right way. And not all kids have that. Not all talented kids have that. And if you have that, it's really, really special. Because it takes a village. We talk about the village all the time. We didn't get here by luck. Obviously, it's genetics, it's genes, it's work ethic, it's discipline, structure. But it's the village of people. A month and a half ago, Monfrey reached out to me like, hey, I love how your boys play. If it was about me, I'd be like, no, I do my own thing.

like, oh, you like my boys? Go take them. Do what you did with some of these great players, because that's what you want. It takes everyone is a village of yours if you do it the right way. And none of us would be here without that village of people. So that's the respect that we have for the village. You've got to do this the right way, have the right people. And I will say, you've had that every step of the way. Because like we know, a lot of people,

don't have that and I won't say it's by luck, but I do say it's by early age of finding mentors and people that believe in you and having a set of parents at home or a single mom or like you need someone.

to help guide you down that path because a lot of people don't have that and that's when you get the handlers and people trying to like, oh, I got con, we're gonna go to Cincinnati this weekend in third grade just to get them out there on the scene. You didn't do any of that when you were young. You stay local, you played in tournaments, that was one day shootouts and you didn't do any of that. So I try to explain that to people.

best players that they wasn't doing all of that. So explain that a little bit. Yeah, I didn't travel outside of the state for a game other than like a one day shootout in like Waukegan until ninth grade. Right, right. Yeah, that was the first time I on an airplane. Yeah, yeah.

And my friends that tell me that story all the time. It's not necessary at all. You do not need to go travel until high school. Right. They're not coming to watch seven great games. And rankings and none of that really matter to your family or you. It's organic. The best players know who the best players are. You don't need a website to tell me who the best player is. If I walk in a gym and it's all fifth graders in there, they know who the best player is. That's what matters. Your peers.

is what matters, not someone behind a desk telling you who was ranked what. Not in third, fourth, all the way to ninth grade, that doesn't really matter. So from hearing that from our best player in the state saying that, so hopefully our listeners understand that with the kids that they have, you don't need to do all this unnecessary stuff. 90 minute radius, you're gonna find the best competition you're gonna find. If you got two or three practices a week with a really good coach,

You got a great village around you with skills trainers and and you play not every weekend six or seven tournaments. It's all you really need over the summer especially at the third through eighth grade level. That's all you need to be successful.

Can you speak on that a little bit? Yeah, it's more so getting into practice with those guys and competing against the guys on your team. Because if you have a good team and a good coach, that's where you're going to get better. So the six, seven weekends in the summer and the late spring is your chance to show that. And you don't need.

I remember I used to go play to my mom like, why can't we go anywhere? Right? You don't need to. Right. I think a lot of it getting better, too, is like you played with the older guys, right? And you see it with like,

our kids, they're playing, they're training with kids that are twice their age and they're getting better from playing that that little higher level also. Yes, it matters. Like my boys, they play up in a fifth grade and then during the season they play their own grade, you know, fourth grade. And you just see the difference of playing older people, you know, and then you come back to your own age. You see that big difference like, oh, OK, I can do I can do that move on that level. Now I can get to there and make different moves. Mason.

done working out and you're working on Tim, you're like Mason, get over here, get your ball. Yeah. You know, he's a sixth grader and he's doing the workout with Tim. Just do it. Yeah. Yeah. I would definitely say that playing up as long as you can was big. Like fourth grade, I played with sixth grade and fifth grade, I played seventh grade. And then I moved to my age level, sixth grade. Both things are important. It's important to play against better competition, but then also gaining that confidence. Yeah. Playing against kids your own age. Yeah. By the time I was in.

When I played my own age sixth, seventh grade, I was like, I already played this age. Correct. And that's what we're like. Yes. And that's the trajectory where I talk about with Max a lot with my boys is they're going to play up until it's time for them to because that transition between the little ball and the big ball. Right. Getting pressed.

breaking zones, if you can do that a year or two early before your actual age, that's a huge advantage from learning the game, you know, processing the game from a knowledge point of view. So if you can do it and you're good enough to do it, you should probably do it. And on some set, either doing a...

school year with WYBL or with your AU team. You should try to figure out how to play your kid up and deal with adversity. The ball moves faster, the players are faster. The things you think you can do at a younger age you probably can't do. Getting off the ball.

really helps when you plan playing with other good players. Yes. Yes. That's one. Not the best. Learn how to. You got to learn how to play, you know, so. And that happened to one of our good players, Isaiah Allen. You know, he came over in eighth grade and it's like, well, he's always used to having a ball in his hands. So it's like, OK, how are we going to teach him how to play without the ball and teach him how to play the right way? You know, most people call it how we play like, oh, man, like we have no one average more than 14, 15. You guys look like CGO.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love watching this. Yeah, we moved the hell out the ball. You know, we're getting a foot in the paint. We're like, one more, one more, one more. And it takes a while for a group of guys to buy into that because we're in this society. You grow up thinking it's about you. And when you put on a team and realize this is about the ball, the ball is the best player. Once you realize that you're ready for college. How many college players, you know, average 20 points a game?

Not many. Right. It's not a lot. The Purdue guy. Oh, Edie? Yeah. I might average 20 if I get 18 free throws. I'm a badger guy. I'm graduate. I'm just happy. Are you one of those pitching on social media? I did not get on social media, but I was on my couch. I just can't watch. It's so hard to the gif of the Tyler Wall taking the charge. Yeah. Guys, I'm in Las Vegas, and I just hit a guy, and I got a follow. I thought I was Edie. It's just so hard to watch. So hard to watch.

And we talk about the shift of the game. You like we all know now, like the game is evolved where the center doesn't really matter. Like everyone is like multi -multi -dimensional where they got to play every position. But then when you do run against a seven foot one, seven foot two guy. Well, Marquette saw against you kind of, you know, they're big guy, you eat them up. Yeah, eat them up. You know, it's like, oh boy, you know, what do we do here? All of us, we like to switch a lot. That's just where the game is going. And then you try to.

post and then they play off of it. You know, they surround him with shooters, even with shooters. You try to front the post, they play high low, they swing the ball. It's like, yeah, the game is evolving to not having those type of players. But if you do have one of them, you're going to win a lot of games if you use him the right way. So talk about the involvement of the game that you've seen, you know, from high school, from when you were younger, having a post player.

to like you being a post player and a point guard and doing everything. This the involvement of a game of playing without a traditional post player anymore. Yeah. I remember.

I was in seventh grade, that's when I could start shooting threes. Like, well. Yeah. Before that, I didn't even shoot any threes. Yeah. And that was kind of like all of basketball. I mean, Curry was just kind of getting on the scene. And so that was kind of weird in youth to like understand that. Right. That oh, no, threes are cool now. And it wasn't just because like we got older, it was just because that's how the game was going. Yeah. And now like you go to.

fifth grade game and there's like 10 threes on each side being shot. It's like holy cow. Yeah, I mean, basketball has become more and more positionless. I mean, high school and college is still kind of hard. Yeah. Like, as you run into those guys, like you need a big. Yeah. You'll run into those teams that have a really good big. Yeah. And same with high school, like, or AAU, you need a bigger body just for rebounding purposes. Yeah. But yeah, like, AAU, I would.

bring the ball up sometimes, post up a lot. Just having that plethora of things that you can do, even just like guarding guards, guarding bigs, being able to do multiple things is really valuable to a lot of teams. And I think that's mostly where the game is going, like being able to do. Yep.

A lot of a plethora of things. Yeah, I think that's true. Like I see the transition and I'm going to use this example like my my twins. They they grew up learning how to play with the ball. You know, they they probably going to be six, five to six, eight, but they're going to learn how to play with the ball. And then they coached this year, Coach Curl. He was like, well, I know you can do this, but can you post up to it? Now he made Joseph this unbelievable post player and he already can do the.

the shooting and all of that. And then I kind of saw that with you where he made you bring the ball up the court, you know, and play point guard where you had other guards on the team, but you was the point guard. And so talk about that transition of learning that position before college of what that would do for you. Yeah, it's big. You want to be able to play and pick and roll. Yeah, like pick and roll is becoming so big. I mean, it always was, but even more so now with the switching and everything that's going on. So being able to handle the ball and pick and roll.

and make reads and pick and roll is big. And just being able to bring the ball up, not turn it over. Yeah. That stability of the ball being in your hands is something you want as a player. You want that trust. Yeah. Because then you can be on the floor more. Right. Right. And you bring the ball up and it's so like 1980. No. Like Magic Johnson. Like it's been. You cut me off. Go ahead, buddy. I'm going to turn the other way. You want to try me? I'll see over both of you guys. I'm going to make the right pass. It's just.

Like you can't be sped up. Certain high school kids, college kids, you can speed them up with intensity or smacking the ground. Like, yeah, I'm sure you've been called plenty names and different things. You can't get rattled. And I'm looking at the game, and I can see some of the Nikolai guys trying to get under your skin or rebound. Like, oh, I'm going get this rebound over them. This talking trash. And you just got the same Tim Duncan approach. You can't rattle them. It's like, damn.

But nothing we could do, you know, so let's talk about like teams that want to press you and you've played against grown men for a long time of how that helped you flip over to being a point guard position. Yeah, just definitely being stronger, like getting stronger. Weight room is big. Yeah. Weight room was really, really huge to development as far as just being able to hold onto the ball. Like when I was younger, I would just get ripped all the time. Yeah. Yeah. Like you play that one team that presses. Yeah.

Gosh, I gotta get better. And so weight room was always big. It kind of leveled the playing field. So you had the guys that were really, really strong, maybe matured a little bit early. And then weight room just leveled that playing field completely. And then playing with the older guys, too, they're stronger than you. And just being able to, that was more ball handling.

Not not dribbling, but like just holding on to the ball, chitting it to his. That stuff's important. It is important. It's so important. Pivoting. Yes. And dribbling the ball and that in that sense with the old guys and weight room really helped. Yeah. Just in like a scenario over like on Friday when you're playing Nicolay and they're guarding you. Ninety four feet. Right. You've got to be strong at the ball. Nas is super physical defender. Yeah. And you can't turn it over like you got to take care of it. So yeah, it kind of slowed your game down. I think.

It slowed the game down of how they tried to guard you guys. They didn't allow us to shoot any threes. No. Shot four threes. Right. They didn't allow you to do, that was really the championship game. Let's be honest here. That just the way the seeding was, I thought they got screwed a little bit. It was good for us. Yeah. Because we got four days to practice for them. Oh.

Yeah, that's true. So that was big. It would have been hard to play on. Yeah. That was going be a question that I wanted to ask is, so your normal preparation for games. Talk a little bit about what your normal preparation was for during the season, what a normal game day would be, and then your preparation over the past weekend. How did you prepare Saturday before the game? What did you do? What were the steps? Just personal preparation? Yeah, personal preparation. So for the week leading up to? Well, let's just do like a

regular game during the season? What would you do game day, preparation, and then pre -game? What was your ritual? Yeah, wake up, get a good breakfast, go to school, a little light lunch. I liked a light lunch because I didn't really want a lot in my stomach. And then we'd go to coaches or.

or something before the game and maybe he would have dinner, but I wouldn't really eat that much. So your coach made dinner before the game. Yeah. His wife. That's not normal. We go over to his house for home games. Yeah. His house. And then for away games, we go to Ian's nice. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You weren't passing up a slice, though. I wasn't passing. Oh, not a really. I was not passing. Oh, that's my favorite. Oh.

So I was the same way. I usually eat more after the game than I did before the game. One of the guys out here, Shemontae, who works out here, he told me that get a good breakfast and then try not to eat too much until after the game. Yeah. And I noticed that helped a lot. So that's what I started doing toward the end of the year. Yeah. Not eating as much throughout the day. And then pregame, we'd come back.

Normally take a nice number two. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. That's that's always got to be as always got to be a little nervous. Like the whole part of it. There's a waiting like a table. Yeah. 15 minutes until your stall is ready. So we're not going to go to coach walls. We're not going to coach walls. His wife's food made all of us go to the bathroom.

But I think that's every athlete. I think that's just normal. Like before every game I did that. It's like it's normal. If you didn't, it's on your stomach while you're playing. You don't want that. Just through the podcast of the PG -13. That's awesome. Joe's drops about that. Oh, yeah, for sure. We're good. And then.

Yeah, and then we'd watch the JV, a little bit of the JV game. Yeah. And I'd get taped, and then we'd go stretch with my buddy Isaiah. Me and him would stretch each other out. You played with your cousin, too. First cousin. Z. Z. Yeah. How was that playing with him? Because he got hurt, right? He was hurt for a long time. Yep. And then he came back and played a big role for this team this year. Oh, yeah. He.

Yeah, so he was on the team last year. He didn't play much. He probably could have. Yeah. We just had a good team. Yeah. A lot of older guys. Yeah. And then, yeah, he broke his ankle in the AAU season. Yeah. His foot. He broke his foot.

early in a season, they waited 10 weeks, didn't heal right. Oh, wow. Didn't heal right at all. So then they had to have surgery. So then he was out for four months after that. So he came back to us in December and he played two games sparingly right away. Our tournament in Madison and then the next game was the Puyakian. He had 15. Yeah. So he's a junior sophomore. Oh, thank God that happened early. Like, yeah. Yeah. Glass half full. It happened early. Yeah. Right. He.

Yeah, he's had a couple of injuries with his foot and with his wrist. He's had a couple of surgeries.

But yeah, he's gonna be really good. Yeah, I like his game a lot. I like his dad. Yeah, there that's another great family. Let's talk about the recruiting battle when it was time to get down that path. And this we're all getting to know you better. And that was the hardest part for you. You can just see it on your face when every day being the best player in the state from school to the teachers to the guidance counselor to the janitor to random people stop you like, hey,

Where are you going to school at? How much did that weigh on you? And how much did that, you know, you wanted to get away from that? Yeah, I really don't like talking about myself. And that might not be evident on the podcast. I don't know why would he come on a podcast if he doesn't like talking about himself.

Yeah, but I so that was that was always hard. Like, where are you going? Yeah. And like I gave people the benefit of the doubt because it wasn't people that like like you would never talk to me about it. No, because you like you like people that know basketball or like nobody really wants to talk about that stuff. And so but it would be like I'd give people the benefit of the doubt because it's like a teacher. They don't know. They don't know. Right. Right. Like a random kid. Right. School. Yeah.

So that was tough. Yeah. Just just always kind of people were always kind of wondering. People would ask my like my family, my cousins. And he's like, my cousin is kind of a jerk. And he was like, people would ask him, he's like, I don't know. And if I knew, why would I tell you? He said that to everybody. So that was that was hard to balance that. Yeah. It took a lot of energy just to.

talked to people about it, wanted to ask questions. Yeah. How did you narrow your list down? What were the things that you were looking for to kind of narrow your list down? Because you had a great list of schools all over the country. And then you narrowed it down to three really good schools. So how did you narrow that down? Yeah. I wanted to win. And so I thought the winning program was a big aspect. And I also thought that just going to the spot, that would give me the best player I could be. Yeah. Yeah.

that started to become more and more prevalent towards the end. And then just a coach and a staff that I could trust. And there's a lot of those staffs that you can trust. But the ones that emerged at the end were kind of - those are the staffs. Those are the staffs who are like, OK, yeah, this is good. And outside looking in, you did a great job. Those three schools are unbelievable. I'm a couple years older than John, Coach Schuyler. And you play so much like he did in high school. You know, he was -

Chicago light it up light it up and you could speed them up. You know, he played against inner city teams. He played against all type of teams and he was just who he was like calm collective. He would give people to business and just to see you end up with a place where a coach played the game at a high level like that. It's pretty cool. So I hear you rooming with Cooper. Is that true? I don't know yet. OK, you don't know yet. OK, yeah, I saw that on.

on the internet like yeah they're roaming yeah yeah it's likely that

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because there's like four guys in the dorm. Right. Like the dorms are connected. It's like two and two. OK. And we're in the freshman dorm. OK. So at first, did you choose a major or anything? I'm going to be a history major. Oh, nice. I was a history major. Were you like when Joe said he went to Marquette? Well, what do you want to major in? Whatever you guys think. Right. I'm here to play basketball. You tell me what I need to do to get the hell out of here for you. That's the way I looked at it. I didn't

So most of us was calm studies like this is what you need to do and obviously it helps now this this is what I do for a living but You know most of us don't know what we're doing. So to know it's pretty cool. I want to be a history teacher Yeah, we talked a lot about the girls game right and the girls want to go for a four -year college They want to get a degree. Yeah, you know, that's why we think the girls game has evolved a lot How much is your education important to you?

Is it more about the basketball or? In college, yeah, it's more about the basketball. I don't really like school. I've always gotten pretty good grades though. So my mom kind of, I don't want to say like, she didn't put pressure on me to get good grades, but like you're doing your homework, you're doing it right. She would show me like.

Hey, you got to be like, you can get this up today. Yeah. I should show me that stuff. I mean, you still got to do your work in the classroom to get. Oh, my God. Yeah. Really high academic schools, right? There's schools on your. It's not like you just walk. Anyone can walk in there and go to school. One hundred percent. The academic. Yeah. Like I was recruited by Stanford. Yeah. So I got pretty pretty good grades. I take tough class. I take AP courses. Yeah. So yeah, talk about the grades. What did you what did you your GPA?

and your ACT score, did you take that multiple times or just one time? Just once. Once? Yeah. High 20s? Yeah. And that's so hard. I took it one time. So where I was from, it was 20 years before the last Division I player. And I took it one time. My guidance counselor, she set the bar really low. It's like, you need an 18 and a 2 .7 GPA to play in college.

I was like, oh, this is amazing. I didn't study anything. Got an 18 the first time and my coach was like, you don't need to take it again if you want. I was like, cool, I'm good, you know. But talk about like, you know, you say your mom, you know, my boys, their moms stay on them with homework. That's not my job. Like Shannon Sharpe over there shaking her head like Shannon Sharpe said, you know, Shannon Sharpe said on his podcast, like, you know, his daughter or someone used to come.

home with fourth grade math and it was like I'm not doing it I can't even do this no more don't even show me what you're doing because I'm gonna get it wrong I'm gonna pull out a calculator so I'm gonna show you the answer so talk about like you know your drive to be a great student first yeah me and my like

My school is pretty good school, my grade school and a lot of my classmates were pretty competitive about our grades. Nice. Which was interesting. Like we were like, he got a 96. Yeah. I got 97. So like that was interesting. You don't always have that. No, you don't. In grade school or middle school to have a.

have a competitive this with grades right. Right. But yeah, mom was definitely making sure we were doing all our stuff. She she hasn't she didn't really help me with a lot of homework. Like I figured a lot of stuff out on my own. So like sometimes my brothers are like ask her to like study with her. I never I've never I've never done any of that. So God definitely blessed me a little bit in that way where I could just figure stuff out. Yeah. Yeah. And I think for not to but.

no matter what level if you want to play college basketball you have a better chance of doing that if you are take the classroom seriously and get good grades regardless of what level you get twice as many options so like

And now maybe not so much, but like if your dream is to play college basketball, you have to go to school. That's part of your dream, per se. So you got to take that seriously. It helps everyone out. It helps the coaches out. They don't have to worry about it. Like that would be one of the first couple of things they ask, especially with some of the high academic schools that are around. Yeah. One of the things that I don't get anymore is like when Coach Craig Robinson was talking and you know, it was a big deal 15, 20 years ago.

graduation rate. Like, oh, 98 % of people graduate once they get to Marquette, the basketball players. That was a stat that they like show to us all the time. Like, yeah, we use it at Carol. Yeah, you need those stats. You know, it's like those stats matter. And diving into a little bit of that is basketball players.

with the discipline and structure have higher degree ratings than a regular student that's at school. So all the stuff that we do that's basketball wise, once you step on campus, you actually got a better chance of graduating.

than most kids do because you got tutors, you got advisors, you know this is your lane you gotta go into. So the higher graduation rate is higher through athletes than it is due to the population of regular kids. And I think that's pretty cool because we don't live the same life that everyone else does. I have buddies that More on your plate. Right, you got more on your plate. You don't do half the things that a regular student does. But they don't do half the things that we do either. I mean, it kind of works both ways.

But I just think that's a cool thing to see that you're taking care of the classroom work. And talk about did Cooper flag a little bit of how he was a 25 that went to a 24.

To be able to play with a player like that, how that's gonna, that's gotta be pretty cool. Have you played against him before? Yeah, I played against him in Orlando. Okay. Top 100 camp against his team. Okay. And, and how did you know by then where you being recruited by Duke at that point? No. Yes. Yes. Uh, coach should talk to me. Um, they, they had reached out early in the spring and our second UIVL session. Um, I missed the.

when I was hurt. Yeah, I came back the second one and I hadn't played in like four weeks, five weeks. I sucked. And I was really I was like, damn, they didn't go with me. No, I was like, I wasn't really thinking about Duke, but I was like, I was more so thinking.

Dang, everybody was right. 17U is a step up. Because that's what everybody would say, because, oh, he only got 16U, whatever. He's not that good. So I was like, dang, 17U was a step up. Yeah, so the injury of the UYBL, talk about that a little bit, the first session, the second session, what schools were there looking at you. And talk about just the pressures of that level a little bit. Yeah.

You felt a little soft. Yeah. Because I what actually happened was I I went down and I was going to play. I was going to play. I wasn't ready to play. Mm hmm. I was going to play and I got food poisoning. Oh, wow. So then I was throwing up all that. That was a sign and I didn't play. And then.

Yeah, like Duke was there and then I wasn't playing so they left and Tony Bennett was watching. So like a lot of the guys that were recruiting me didn't come to our game. And then second session I played I was bad. Really bad. And then.

Next session got back to being good and then right and that's when to kind of yeah, kind of kick started recruiting heavier Okay, and then that's why I think it's like important like we talked about before of the kids seeing those different levels Because it's so much pressure you know to perform, but it's not You know if you this is what you do every day. It's not pressure because this is something

that you do every day. It's like, yeah, I didn't play the best that I wanted to play. Yeah, people might be questioning if 16U is harder than 17U and what I have to do. But my work is going to show. And the coach who's going to see my work is probably where I want to go because they trust that process of it.

So I think that's important to all the kids that's listening is trust your work because you're going to get hurt. Things are going to happen in live periods. We had that with our guys think things happen. It's not going to be perfect. Nolan was one for 11 from three in a live period.

And the same coaches that pass on him, he ended up landing where he needed to be. So it's not about any of that. You gotta go where you want it and kinda trust your work. Talk about the rumor who you're gonna room with. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard on Twitter that it was gonna be Cooper Flagg. But -

Yeah, what do you think about that, Con? Is that something that's true, or is that just a rumor mill? Definitely just rumor mill. I mean, it's likely that we would room, because it's six guys. Yeah, yeah. Likely, but.

There's a lot of stuff on Twitter. I've been reading that I'm going to make $1 .1 million. Yeah, where'd that come from? That's not true. Don't you wish? Be sad for life. I don't know. Like people.

That's sometimes it's frustrating. I'm not on social media that much. Yeah, but when I like sometimes I'll just scroll on Twitter and then I'll just check comments. Let's see what people are talking about. Sometimes that brings a little extra little extra juice. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. But yeah, people a lot of people saying stuff that. They don't know anything about it. It's just not true. It's just funny. Yep. Going to Duke.

It's a big school pressures. How are you going to try to manage the pressures that is going to be involved? You are the best player in Wisconsin, right? You know, when you go there, you're not number one. You know, you got to fit in. What are you going to use to rely on to to handle all that? Well, first of all, Jesus, my Lord and Savior, like that, that's always what we're going to fall back on. I kind of knew that was going to be your answer. Yeah, yeah. It was the question I asked. Because that's because that's truly where our worth is. And having that to fall back on is big.

as huge as a player because you can go out there and play and you win or lose, you play bad, you play well.

can come back and know that Jesus died for you and that the true victory is in him and not in not in a game. Yep. And I think that's kind of rare in athletes to kind of talk about that. You're seeing it more with CJ Stroud and then I felt right. It was team Tim Tebow at the at the time at one time. But you're starting to see a little bit more of that in sports, you know, players huddling in the middle and then be a praying and stuff. So it's kind of nice, refreshing to hear, you know, the best player in the state, you know, relying on his faith. Yeah, yeah. I think that's pretty cool.

And to have something of this world that you believe in is something that we all strive to be. And we talked about our faith a lot on here is you wanna have something that you believe in because this world is built around people that don't believe in different things, regardless of whatever they do. But you wanna be something that...

Positive of this world and leave something behind for other people to follow Just like we we have with our Lord and Savior that we have that's what we want. You know, we were following a path and

We want to talk about that winning a little bit. Like, you know, we talked about high school, what that means. Yeah, like, you know, you want to stay championship, right? Yeah. And I was talking how Joel is was successful in high school and how winning is preparing you for that next level. Now you want to stay championship. The pressures that were involved in there. How is that going to prepare them for the college pressures? Yeah. Like we were saying, I think, you know, if you're concerned about winning and not individual accolades, that you're going to be very

very successful in whatever you do, whatever you do. But especially in sports setting, a team setting, if you think more about the group, not yourself, you're gonna be successful going into it. It's not gonna be the accolades that I won. And like I mentioned, the things we do as athletes, I got more sleepless nights on the games I didn't win than the games that I did win. Those keep me up more than anything. And I'm sure losing to P. Walky,

straight times keep you motivated more than the one you just won you know because that's the stuff like God I wish you could bring that play back or that situation back or that team back because you do it for each other and you'll never see some of these guys again and just to know you didn't get over the hump with some of them that's what kept me going as an athlete is to be in the best version of myself for others because the team

People are not gonna be as blessed to get to where you're going.

But the people along the way helped you get there. So they can always look at you and have a little piece of them inside of it. And I always thought that was cool, as an athlete is. You know, the people that I grew up with in Chicago, I didn't take them with me. But they can look at me and say, man, I knew him from third through eighth grade. I knew, like, I was with him shooting in a gym. I was doing this and hanging out. Like, that little piece of success you can carry, people can carry with you. And I think in college, you learn that more about being a part of something bigger than you are.


But I think as a successful athlete, you need your losses to matter because you're going to lose a lot in life. That's just a part of it. But how you deal with that adversity is going to help you continue to grow as a player. What does, I know graduation's next on your list, of course. What does summer look like for a big school player? We kind of got a little input on what Michael and Tim are doing at their level. What does summer look like to you going forward here?

and preparing for Duke? Yeah, so the next three months, because I'll be leaving in the mid to late June. So the next three months I'll be in here every day, Monday through Friday, lifting. And then a couple times a week with Travis working out. And then I'll be at.

I'll be playing Monday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings with the old men. Actually, Monday is with the high school guys, a bunch of seniors. Oh, yes. Yeah. So yeah, Tim, Tim, tell me he was he played last Monday. Yeah, I saw because you guys keep stats. Yeah. Tim's on my team now. Oh, he's because that's not fair because Bennett, I picked Bennett and Bennett, you know, with his tooth. Yeah. Yeah. Messed up his whole mouth. Yeah. And he needs like a Ruka now. So.

I'm tens I'm my team. Oh, that's not for the rest of the no, no, no. Whoever made this up, you know, these teams. They were very skeptical. All the other captains are very skeptical because you said we were too young. Oh, wow. Yeah. You guys in the ulster or the in the ulster game or some people do it. Some people don't. It just depend on when you're tired. It's always in July. Yeah, I won't be I won't be here for that. I'll be gone all July. So I think a lot of the the two guys, the three guys.

they should still be in town. So you'll see more guys on that level that take those spots deservedly. So some of the higher guys are going to be going in school by that time. Are you looking past college? I know you're not looking past college, but what are your aspirations past Duke? I mean, you want to go play NBA overseas? Yeah, I want to play in the NBA. And that's something I'll work for and keep getting better at and hopefully get there. And as soon as.

I'm done playing hoops, and that's when I want to go to be a history teacher at my high school now. That's funny because Craig Robinson was on here. His plan was to teach, what is it, high school or seventh grade or something like that. I wanted to do secondary education teacher at Madison. And I got into the college coaching best. And now, I couldn't go back. Couldn't sit in the classroom all day. But that would be the one thing, because you're interacting, you're around it. High school teacher and high school coach. Do you think that you will be a coach one day?

I don't think so. I think I'll be like my dad. I don't want to.

Coach. Yeah. Talk about Conn senior a little bit. That guy is an interesting guy. I heard he fell off the ladder a couple of weeks ago. How was he doing? I texted him thinking it was your number like three weeks ago. Just trying to confirm my podcast. Oh, really? Yeah. That it was him. And he was like, I'll just ask him like, how are you doing? He fell off the ladder. So talk about him a little bit. He's like super quiet, you know, very well reserved. You got similar personalities, you know.

So talk about him because he was a great player in his own right to yeah, so he is I try to learn a lot from him because he's very Like you said reserved he likes he doesn't like to chit chat after my game. He's gone. Yeah, he's out of the gym He's going home. He's South Seattle home I like to chit chat like when he goes to my brother's games. He's yeah, he brings his own chair Yeah, and he goes and sits in the foldable chair

I like that too. Just watch us. Get in and out. Yeah. But he is he's a hooper. Yeah. He's still playing like when you talked about sleepless nights like he'll lose a CGL regular season season 63 week nine. He'll lose the game and he won't sleep. So I kind of kind of speaks to the competitiveness that he has. And my brothers like to give him a hard time because he.

He's good at dumb stuff, like board games and stuff that doesn't matter, but he's just a competitive guy. It's cool to have that reserved humility mixed with competitiveness.

100%. 100%. You don't see that in a lot of people. No, you don't. You don't. But we're talking to one now. I mean, that's who you are, in a nutshell. I think that's pretty cool for our kids, my boys in particular, just to see that type. Because we all see the over -the -top stars, but you don't see the reserved stars who, they come in and just go about their work and do it the right way. And I think that speaks volumes of how you was raised, your village.

your parents.

And I just think that five, 10 years from now, we don't know. Because I think the sky's the limit for how you play already. It translates over more to the NBA, as it does to college, just because of how you play already. A lot of people learn how to play how you play now in college. So just to see that the way NBA is translating and playing now to how your game is, I think that's going to be a seamless transition for some people.

Look how he plays, let's right away, he plays at a certain speed like a Jimmy Butler already with the heat. He's not sped up, he plays off two feet, he plays the right way. So that goes a long way of what people are starting to look for. Because yeah, the game is getting younger, but.

We still want the development of players once they get to that point of being developed. They don't want to be babysitting. Coach Pop talked about that. I'm babysitting some of these kids because they don't know how to play. So this is the development of the game. I think you're going to be ahead of the curve. We see that already. I don't want to leave without talking about that block. I talked about it for a second.

And it was the biggest block of the game of Nicolay. He's on the other side of the block. A guy got a straight line drive for a layup. He's on the other side of the block. And I'm in the crowd. We were watching. And he goes up. It was by the white, the white of the backboard where the square is. And he caught it. Boom. It was just simultaneously pow, pow. And the crowd was like, like.

You know, some crowds like that's golden and other crowds like, damn, how did he get up that high? But talk about your sneaky hops and how many people you catch off guard with your with your sneaky hops that you have. Yeah, I I try to be a little more vertical this year. Yeah, I think I had a lot. I have more dunks and probably.

the rest of my life combined. You did. So I that was that was emphasis try to get because that stuff showing that you have that athleticism. Yes. And I want to be able to maintain that more because it's hard. It is like it's hard. Like some games like I'm not feeling I'm not feeling that right. But trying to maintain that is that takes you to another level. Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, yeah, that was the biggest moment of the game. So like.

You got to go up and try. I had four falls. Yeah, you did. I was I was a little nervous about that, but I was like, no, I got this one. Yeah. And it's pretty cool. The person who were reffing your game. We did a podcast with Keith. He was a ball hitter, one of the ball hitter refs, and he was coaching. He was reffing one of your games. You're going to get somebody this year. And he was talking about refing.

star players, you're going against someone who was going to Wisconsin or Illinois. And he was like this ref in that game. And he's like, you know,

us as reps, we're trying to make sure that we keep these guys in a game because everyone's coming to see them. So we got to make sure every foul is a real foul on them. We got to make sure that, you know, we're not trying to control the game like some of the real reps understand because they played the game. You know, they understand the circumstance of the game. So just in that moment, I thought it was pretty cool that it came full circle that you guys went undefeated this year. So many hurdles. I mean, you had so many close

games too that you couldn't have won like homestead game for instance it was two point game you know it was times where it's many moments in your season where you face adversity so when it was time to face it against an opponent in a semi -final game no one was rattled you got up you got down you stayed the course they got up they got down you didn't get too high too low like the team stayed the course you know and I thought that was pretty cool yeah our coach is not very a very complimentary guy like

We're staying grounded and we're trying to keep pushing forward. So he's not giving us money compliments, but the last game of the year before we played Whitton Hall and the crossover game the last game of the year. And he's like, guys, I make the schedule so that we lose, so that we're guaranteed a loss. And you guys are undefeated. We're going to go undefeated because we're going to win tonight.

That was just a funny moment. But yeah, like our schedule was tough. Tough. Yeah. It shouldn't say division to stay title. No, just stay tight for all divisions. They beat everyone. You beat everyone and you wanted that. I love this. I was I was a couple of buddies on Marquette, but I was a little pissed. Yeah. I was pissed at the peer. I will. Yeah, I'm happy. I was happy for Bennett. Yeah. It was an awesome game. Yeah. Yeah. But.

I wanted Arrowhead to win that game because we beat Arrowhead. So it would have been Arrowhead, us, St. Thomas Moore. And you beat them all. That would have been pretty cool. But in closing, I just think you represent.

For me as a club director, a person who played the game and a person who has kids in the game, you represent what we want from our kids, our athletes to be as far as the person first and then the athlete second. Your discipline structure, how you go about your day. The...

competitive drive that you have to be great. It's what we all should be striving to be for our kids, the next generation. Us as directors, we want to push the buttons of our next generation kids that's coming up. And you put that all together from sixth grade, from me knowing you, you know, from sixth grade. You just kept getting better and better and stayed as humble and reserved as you are through the whole process. And you don't see that, you know, that often. The pressures of being great,

to sustain being great and to try to reach new levels all the time. It's something that we want for all of our kids and you've been the pinnacle of all of that for us. And so just from a basketball community, we thank you for what you've done for the game. And also we're rooting for you going forward here. I really appreciate that. Yes, definitely. Good luck. Good luck at two. Congratulations on all your accomplishments, being the best in the state, state champion.

That's hard, hard, hard. State champion sounds good. Undefeated state champion. That's even better. So thanks, Latken. Really, really appreciate it. Good stuff. Thanks. Thank you.