Thanks to class of 2012 power forward Georges Niang (Iowa State) for doing the interview with us. The 6’7, 235-pound big man runs with BABC throughout the summer circuit and plays for the Tilton School (Massachusetts) during the high school season. Niang’s stock soared this summer as he consistently outperformed his highly ranked opponents all throughout the summer. He talked to us about why he choose ISU, who he’s recruiting to join him and much more.
Why did you commit to Iowa State?
The feeling I had on campus when I took an unofficial visit in March with the coaching staff. It just felt like the right fit for me and the relationship I have with [head] coach [Fred] Hoiberg. He came to see me every chance that he could so I felt the love and that’s where I wanted to be.
Over the summer you kept playing better and better and got a lot of attention, at any point did you consider re-opening you recruitment since you could have had more high-major offers?
When I made my decision I decided it would be permanent and I wouldn’t open up my recruitment at any point. So when I committed I knew this is something I wanted to do and I spent a lot of time with my family talking about it and weighing my options and I decided no other offer could be better than what Iowa State was offering me.
Why did you commit at the time that you did?
I caught myself waiting for something and I didn’t realize what I was waiting for. I was just thinking why wait and bullshit around with all these coaches when I knew I wanted to go to Iowa State.
What was your favorite part of the recruiting process?
Definitely having everyone tell you how great you are. People would tell you how you would fit in their system and stuff like that and just playing in front of the best coaches in the country — I always play to win, though. I would say just everyone telling you how great you are.
What was your least favorite part of the recruiting process?
The phone calls and getting back to coaches, I was always stressing out about that.
Who are you trying to get to go to Iowa State with you?
Our 2012 class is full but I’m sure we’re trying to make a push for a guy named [class of 2013 power forward] Kyle Washington who goes to Hotchkiss School (Connecticut), I’m definitely trying to get him, he’s a high energy guy. I played against him over the summer when he was with Howard Pulley (Minnesota) and he was a big lefty, 6’9 I think. Even some guys at my school [too] like [class of 2013 star center] Nerlens [Noel], [class of 2014 shooting guard] Wayne [Selden], you never know. Guys just need to know that coach Hoiberg is a players coach and he’ll do anything for his players. Iowa State is a great spot to be in and it’s a great college town. The fans love you and I don’t think there’s a pro team there so you’re the only show in town. If guys want to come, I’d encourage them to come, but I don’t want to pressure one of my teammates because it may not be the best fit for them or their style of play. We’d love to have guys like Nerlens and Wayne but if it’s not the right fit for them we don’t want them to be there, we want them to enjoy where they’re at.
Did you have a favorite school growing up you enjoyed watching?
Boston College and Georgetown. It was cool growing up watching those schools and now I’ll be playing against them.
What do you like about Iowa State that isn’t basketball related?
Definitely the people, some of the nicest people I’ve ever seen and they’re all so welcoming and the fans too. They’re just some of the nicest people ever.
Was there one particular moment where you knew you had to commit to Iowa State?
Earlier in the week of my commitment, I forget what I was doing but I remember I was just thinking and I thought that I wanted to commit. Later that night I called my mom and told her I wanted to commit to Iowa State and she said she felt the same way since we left campus.
What’s one thing you look forward to once you get to Iowa State?
To bring home some championships and put Iowa State back to where it was before. The team this year is going to do a great job — I’m sure of that — but definitely just bring it back to where it once was. We’ll be good this year and we’re making big strides and we’re going to be one of the best teams in the Big 12, if not in the nation.
Are there any particular players you look forward to playing with at Iowa State?
Definitely [Senior guard] Korie Lucious and [sophomore forward] Royce White. Korie Lucious is a hell of a passer, he can pass it every which way so you can shoot. He can get you the ball in scoring position but I’m excited to play with all the guys — [junior guard] Tyrus McGee, [junior guard] Chris Babb and recruits like [class of 2012 shooting guard] Sherron Dorsey-Walker, [class of 2012 small forward] Nkereuwem Okoro and [class of 2012 point guard] Naz Long, all those guys. We’re going to work like a team and not like a bunch of individuals out there so I’m very excited to play with all of them.
Are you excited about any games?
The Iowa-Iowa State game, that’s a real big game.
What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you?
I’m pretty good at a bunch of sports, but my hidden talents are probably video games and playing pool. No one has beaten me in 2k11, I haven’t gotten on my 2k12 swag but in 2k11 no one has beaten me. I use the Oklahoma City Thunder and sometimes I use the Celtics.
Do you have any funny or interesting recruiting stories?
Actually, there’s a funny story about Iowa, we were going there for an unofficial visit so we had to pay everything to go out there. My mom wanted to pack real light and we flew out there but my mom left her major credit card at home so when we landed in Des Moines (Iowa) and we went to go get a rental car we only had a pre-paid credit card — so we couldn’t rent a car and we had to take a taxi all the way from Des Moines to Ames, I don’t know if you know the geography of Iowa but that’s like a $100 cab ride. So that happened and we visited Iowa State and then we had to go visit the University of Iowa which we had to go back into Des Moines and take a $100 cab and then we took a megabus from Des Moines into Iowa City and then after that we got a taxi service from Iowa City into Des Moines again and the guy who picked us up, he was like a hoarder. I don’t know what it was but he had a bunch of trash in the car, like the whole front seat was filled with trash so I was like maybe this is God telling me I should never come back to Iowa, but then again it was so great to be on that campus I can’t complain. It was a lot of fun, I’m excited to get out there.
Have you heard about the new recruiting rules changes that the NCAA voted on recently?
Yeah, that’s crazy. I feel bad for some of the kids with unlimited texts and stuff because sometimes it feels good because you only have to talk to coaches once a month but now they have unlimited texts and calls — I’m sure they’re going to text more than they’re going to call but that’s still going to be aggravating.
So would you say you’re for or against these new rule changes?
I’m up in the air but I’d say it gives you a better chance to develop relationships with coaches so you might not make a wrong decision or pick the wrong guy that they want to have as their coach. But then again, I’m sure kids want to be kids so all that texting and calling may be too much.
What do you think of all the conference realignment?
I think it’s good, I’ve heard rumors that the Big 12 is going to go under but we’re looking strong and I think we’re picking up West Virginia so we’re moving in the right direction. There’s still Texas, Kansas State, all of the Big 12 teams, Oklahoma State, all those teams.
Are there any particular teams you that you want to join the Big 12?
I’ve always felt like to be the best you’ve got to beat the best so if you’re playing a ranked opponent night-in and night-out we’ll be headed to the top of the Big 12.
Why do you play the game of basketball?
Just the love of it. Basketball is a physical game and it’s just something I’ve always loved to do. I can’t picture my life without basketball. I play for fun and I’ve met great people and I can’t complain. I love every moment I’m on the court and I’m playing a game.