Monday, July 23, 2007

Q&A with Gaby Ngoundjo

Gaby Ngoundjo (pronounced NA-GOON-JO) is a 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward who led Little Rock (Ark.) Christian Academy to the Arkansas 3A state championship game two of the past three seasons, including a state title in 2004-05.

A native of Cameroon, Ngoundjo is one of three incoming true freshmen for the Charlotte 49ers this season. The others are forward An'Juan Wilderness from Dunwoody, Ga., and shooting guard Javarris Barnett of Charlotte.

Ngoundjo was recruited by Charlotte, Purdue, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Illinois State, among others. He arrived on campus this summer and has been attending class and playing in the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation/Jeff McInnis Summer League at the Grady Cole Center.

I caught up with Gaby following a series of pickup games last Friday at Belk Gymnasium on the UNC Charlotte campus.

Q: How did you get interested in Charlotte?
Ngoundjo: I got scholarship offers from a lot of schools -- Illinois State, New Mexico, Charlotte. My last visit was here at Charlotte. I wasn't planning on coming here. Coming here just opened my eyes. I saw it was the right place for me. First of all, I like coach (Bobby Lutz). I like where I live. I like the campus, the dorms and the players here. I am fortunate to play with guys like Lee (Goldwire), Ian (Andersen), An'juan (Wilderness) and Phil (Jones). I think we are going to be good this year.

Q: Do you think you're getting a head start by starting school and playing with some of your teammates this summer?
Ngoundjo: Definitely, I can already feel the connection. I don't know a lot about the other guys, the ones from juco (Lamont Mack and Charlie Coley). I think we are going to be fun to coach. I know we have a long way to go. We have to play hard, work hard and run. But we can do it.

Q: Will this be a fast-paced team?
Ngoundjo: With speed guys like DiJuan (Harris) and Lee, it's going to be a fast break almost every time.

Q: Do you consider yourself a defensive specialist?
Ngoundjo: I'm comfortable both ways, offense and defense. For me, I put defense first. Without defense you can't win. Defense wins games. You have to play defense first. If you don't rebound, you're going to get beat.

Q: Tell me what you think of strength and conditioning coach Preston Greene?
Ngoundjo: I love Preston because he is so hard on me. (Friday) morning I had to run an extra 10 laps and he is extra hard on me. I like that. He is pushing me and pushing me. I know I have to do it to get in shape and I will do it.

Q: Predictions on the season?
Ngoundjo: I want to go to the NCAA Tournament and have fun. I want to make a good connection with the other guys and the school. I like the college atmosphere.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the Q&A. Glad to see Preston hasn't lost his touch.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that I'm really going to enjoy watching Gaby compete.

Anonymous said...

This season is going to be wicked!

Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard Gaby.