Mike Nwelue is a 196cm forward from Lewisville, Texas that recently finished a two year college career at Drury (NCAA2). He played two seasons at Southwestern before moving to Drury. As a senior he played 16 games averaging 8.6ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 64.5%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Mike thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thank you for reaching out, I really appreciate it! This summer I’ve been working on all parts of my game. I workout with a couple of current and former overseas players every day. My older brother Brian, is a coach (who played college basketball and received offers to play overseas) and he trains me throughout the week whenever possible. The last couple of years, I have spent my summer at school for classes and workouts, so it feels good to be around family for a longer period of time this go around. God is good!
Your teammate from Drury Cameron Adams recently signed with German Regionaliga team Schwenningen. How proud are you of him signing his first professional contract?
I am very proud of him! He is a very hard worker and knows the game. It does not surprise me that Schwenningen saw that in him as well. I am sure he will do just fine out there.
There is no secret that you could play professional basketball like your friend Cameron Adams. How serious are you pursuing a professional career now or are you just testing the waters?
I was raised to put 100% into anything I do and live with results. I realize that most people don’t get the chance to play college basketball let alone professional basketball so I don’t take this opportunity for granted. My agent, Evaldas Rimkus (Octagon Europe) has been very helpful throughout this process.
What do you know about the country of Germany and its basketball? Do you have any friends playing over seas?
Marvin, one of my good friends, went to my high school as a foreign exchange student from Germany and I’ve learned a little bit about the game and culture over there from him. We still keep in touch till this day. I also met a few German people while I was Drury. From the German’s I’ve met, I’m guessing Germany is a very nice country! I know quite a few people that are or have played basketball overseas. My old teammate from high school Brandon Jefferson recently just signed to play in the top league in Germany. I know 4 people that are currently playing or have played in Germany alone.
The European style is more structured than the up and down tempo in the states. What part of your game do you feel would benefit the structural play of Europe best?
I believe my game as a whole will transition nicely to the European style. Throughout college I have played on teams that like to get up and down, but at the same time have a system that we are drilled to execute. As Coach Hesser would say, “There is a method to the madness”. I like to use my athleticism to my advantage, and I am a very disciplined player. I know how to be effective through a set offensive play or defensive scheme.
Before finishing at Drury(NCAA2) you played two seasons at Southwestern(NAIA). What do you believe was the most important thing that you developed in your game in that time that helped you make the transition smoother at Drury?
I believe my shooting ability really increased in my time at Southwestern. I always had a quick first step and had the ability to drive and finish strong. I noticed that players started backing off of me forcing me to shoot, and that’s when I started putting extra shots up to make sure they had to respect my shot as well. Coach Bostwick (Southwestern head coach) gave me the freedom to play my game, and I appreciated that.
Your athleticism stands out in your game, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I believe my vision and ability to play off the ball are hidden strengths of mine. I am good at putting myself in position for easy points and rebounds. Also I really look to get the ball to my teammates at the right time in their “sweet spots”
If you could describe in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team this season what would you say?
I put 100% into whatever I do. If it means I have to lock down the best player, score a lot of points, get every rebound, get my teammates involved, play inside, or play outside, I am going to give it my very best shot. It has worked for me so far, why stop now?
You reached the NCAA 2 elite 8 in 2014. That was a great run, but despite all the games you played and plays, you must remember something from that last game in the Elite 8 that still runs in your mind?
I remember the momentum leaving is in the second half. There was a player on the other team that came off the bench and went 6/6 from the three point line. Each three he hit, you could feel the energy and momentum of the game moving in their favor. We ended up losing by ten points and it hurt like crazy. We used that feeling as motivation to get better for the next season.
What was your personal highlight in your two seasons at Drury? Possibly your 21 points against St Josepth´s?
Yes, I did have a good game against St Joseph, but I would have to say it was the first game of my senior year against our rivals. I had 19 points, 12 rebounds, a steal and a block. It was a big game in a packed arena, and those are the environments players love to play in.
How did Drury head coach Steve Hesser prepare and groom you best for a professional career in your two years at Drury?
He taught me that nothing worthwhile comes easy. You have to have some toughness in you to reach your full potential, in anything you do.
Now you get some revenge for your ex teammate and friend Cameron Adams. Who would win a one on one in practice last season?
I’m not rude like Cameron so I won’t say much. All I know is that anytime I was ready for one on one, he always had some mysterious injury, so he wouldn’t play me. Weird right?
What do you see the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets achieving this upcoming season in the NBA?
It will be interesting to see how Raymond Felton plays this season coming off the injury. It would have been nice to get Deandre Jordan here, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I think James Harden will come out determined next season after the way their season ended this year. The West looks like it will be difficult as always, but I see both teams making the playoffs.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you ever see him being mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan?
Lebron is clearly the best player in the NBA. I believe he should be mentioned in the same breath, but I would not say he is better. I just think Jordan had the mentality and body language that he was never going to lose when he stepped on the court, especially in the playoffs.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was God’s Not Dead. I have watched it several times now and it is a great movie. I highly recommend anyone reading this to watch it! Thank you once again for the interview and God bless.
Thanks Mike for the chat.