Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

FIBA

Andrew Nembhard: Harder, better, faster, stronger

Andrew Nembhard Harder Better Faster Stronger Dribbling Ball
Andrew Nembhard Harder Better Faster Stronger Dribbling Ball

Andrew Nembhard caught a pass on the left wing at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ont., one day before the FIBA U18 Americas tournament was set to begin, and calmly drilled a three.

His squad ran the play three times more, and he launched daggers from the same spot.

Money.

Bucket.

Miss.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The opposing squad took the ball and played until it missed a shot.

Then Nembhard, a wily veteran at 18 and captain of Team Canada, took over again.

He was, in the brief stretches open to media, exactly what a captain should be: assertive on offence, tenacious on defence, level-headed throughout.

Nembhard is quiet but confident and well-spoken, a five-star recruit known as much for the strength of his character as for his impressive skill set.

This is exactly the kind of role he ought to be in, guiding an elite team as it tries to qualify for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

But there were no guarantees he would be here at all.

A little more than a year ago, Nembhard, a star point guard at Montverde Academy near Orlando, fell ill and was rushed into surgery at a Florida hospital.

He was reportedly dealing with volvulus, a twisting of the intestines that causes an intestinal obstruction. Doctors removed a portion of his intestines, and he went into septic shock.

“Going through it, you don’t think you’re going to die,” said Nembhard in an interview with BasketballBuzz.

“You just kind of go through it with a positive mindset. Other people around me—especially my father [Claude], was keeping a really positive mindset with me.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“We were always talking about how I’m going to be back on the court really soon, how everything’s going to be fine.”

Within a few months he was back with Montverde, helping fellow Canadian R.J. Barrett lift the team to a 35-0 record and a national U.S. high school championship.

Andrew Nembhard Harder Better Faster Stronger Team Canada
Team Captain Andrew Nembhard alongside Emmanuel Miller and A.J Lawson – Photo: FIBA

Now he’s here, Captain Canada, ready to take on the world.

Must Read:
Canada Stays undefeated downs powerhouse Serbia at 2011 FISU Games

“I just feel blessed, and just grateful that I had such a great supporting cast around me when I was going through a tough time,” he said.

“And I think all these blessings that have come to me [are] because I’ve been working hard. [With] the support of others, I’ve gotten to this point.”

Nembhard is a key player on a Canadian team favoured to contend in and possibly win the U18 Americas tournament, likely with Team USA as its toughest competition.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

There are just four returnees from Canada’s 2017 World Cup team, which won a gold medal with Barrett, the continent’s top-rated high school player, leading the way.

Barrett is preparing for his freshman season at Duke University, and absent from the 2018 Americas tourney. The only returning players are Emanuel Miller, Joel Brown, Tyrese Samuel and Jaden Bediako.

A healthy Nembhard would likely have been part of the 2017 World Cup team, and he admitted he would have loved to play on it.

But now he’s here, gunning for a championship, ready to lead.

“Over the last couple of years I’m really trying to improve my leadership skills, both vocally and by example,” he said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“I’m more of a quiet guy, but I think over the years I’ve kind of come out of my shell a little more.

“I feel like I’m being much more vocal now. I’m really comfortable with this group of guys. I feel like I can be myself.”

Michael Meeks, Canada Basketball’s manager of men’s youth player development and an assistant coach with the U18 team, has said the team has a target on its back, and Nembhard acknowledged that’s likely the case with Team USA.

“I feel like it’s good pressure, though,” he said. “I feel like we’re all motivated to win another one.

“We just want to work harder and harder and try to be the best in the world.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Andrew Nembhard Harder Better Faster Stronger
Andrew Nembhard vs Australia at 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship – Photo: FIBA

This fall, Nembhard will suit up for the Florida Gators, a team looking to replace senior point guard Chris Chiozza, the school’s all-time assists leader.

Must Read:
Just How Big In The NBA Can Japan's Rui Hachimura Be?

There are no guarantees Nembhard, the No. 26 recruit in America according to ESPN, is Chiozza’s immediate successor.

For now he’s here, ready to make his mark.

“My goal is to try to win a starting spot on the team, play as much as possible, and just help my team in any way I can to win,” he said.

“That’s defensively, offensively, being a leader, coming off the bench—whatever I need to do to kind of help us win as [many] games as possible, hopefully win the national championship.

“That’s what I want to do.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Duke is an early favourite to win the NCAA title, with an immensely talented roster that includes Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish—the top three recruits in the class of 2019.

Still, Nembhard likes his chances.

“I think Florida definitely has a chance of beating Duke,” he said. “Every team in college basketball is beatable.”

Next season will be the first time in many years Nembhard does not play with Barrett, a close friend and potential No. 1 NBA Draft pick.

He welcomes the challenge.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“I think we both play really well together, but I think we both have more to show that—when we’re away from each other,” he said.

“I feel like this is just a good opportunity for me to show more of my game, the scoring side of my game, especially—just to bring out more leadership in my game.

“I think it’ll be a good opportunity.”

What matters for now is that he’s here, competing for an international title on home soil.

Here, doing what he was born to do. Here, pursuing greatness.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Here, and stronger than ever.

“I feel like I just attack everything in a more motivated way,” he said.

“I feel like I just cherish and thank people for what they do so much more … just cherish everything.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Advertisement

BUZZING

NBA

A trio of Canadians including Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard and Leonard Miller have been selected to the 2023 NBA Rising Stars game.

NBA

In Arizona for a golf getaway and a game between the Phoenix Suns and the visiting Memphis Grizzlies, former NBA first-round pick Carl Nicks...

NCAA

Keep-up with all the Canadians playing men's college basketball with our industry leading 2022-23 BasketballBuzz NCAA stats tracker. Loaded with all the stats and...

NCAA

A total of 131 Canadians basketball players are on 2022-23 NCAA opening day rosters. We examine the complete list and break down all the...

BasketballBuzz - Canada's Basketball Magazine