For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present UCLA commit Daishen Nix, from Anchorage, Alaska:
Pro Insight: Can you talk a bit about your background? What was the transition like coming from Alaska to Las Vegas?
Daishen Nix: It was a little rough from the start because of the weather change of course. I have three siblings, none of them play sports. They all used to play volleyball, but not anymore. I have two older sisters and one younger. My younger sister used to play basketball, but she tore her ACL so she just stopped playing. I moved to Vegas due to my grandfather’s health, and about eight months after we moved here he passed away...so it’s been hard lately. But I’ve been going through it, playing basketball, going to Trinity International, which has been keeping me focused pretty much.
PI: Was your grandfather a big influence for you?
DN: He was pretty much there my whole life before my dad came, as soon as he passed away there was no father figure in my life until later. I was like the man of the house, one of the youngest ones at the house, but I was the only boy at the house so I was pretty much getting spoiled by all the females at the house.
PI: Let’s talk hoops. Describe your game – what are your greatest strengths and biggest areas for improvement?
DN: Strengths...my court vision, being a leader on the court, being another coach on the court, getting my teammates involved, giving them confidence. Weaknesses...my shooting and my defense. I’ve been working on my defense a lot lately because I’ve been told that I can’t play defense so that’s the big thing I’ve got to work on now.
PI: Do you take those criticisms to heart? Do you want to prove people wrong?
DN: Proving people wrong and pretty much getting ready for the next level. At the next level they want you to play 94 feet and that’s what I’m going to try to do.
PI: You have a lot of basketball experience between AAU, USA Basketball, Pangos events, and your high school team...who have been some of the tougher matchups for you?
DN: At USA Basketball, pretty much everybody that’s invited is a tough matchup...everybody has their own different skills and plays a different way so you can’t gamble on a steal because they’re quicker than everybody else that I’ve played against in AAU. It’s an All-Star event, pretty much...everybody knows how to play or what to do with the ball. Going to USA (mini-camps) was a big deal to me because I’ve been invited twice so far and it’s been tough but I’ve liked it.
PI: What are some of the main things you’ve learned from being in the USA basketball environment?
DN: Pretty much the different culture that’s there...NBA trainers and assistant coaches. Just pretty much trying to take in what they tell me and what I need to work on and making the most of it.
PI: You went through the recruiting process and ended up choosing UCLA...what made them your school of choice?
DN: When I went down there, it was just a great campus...they have a legacy. I walked through the hallway and everybody’s plaque was there. Just being there makes me want to have my own plaque up there, myself. So continuing the legacy pretty much. My family is on the west coast already...LA is a nice place to be and it’s not that far from Vegas.
PI: What type of system best fits your playing style?
DN: I would say pretty much read and react, a system that we play now, or a free motion, where everybody can bring up the ball and coaches just let us play, and picking up 94 feet.
PI: College or pro, current or former player – do you model your game after anyone?
DN: I enjoy watching Damian Lillard and James Harden. I’ve been watching James Harden more because he’s like a bigger guard. You know how he draws the most fouls in the NBA, that’s what I’m trying to get to...get to at least 14-16 foul shots a game and pretty much just getting better every single day.
PI: Are there any other guards you compare yourself to?
DN: In high school, I would say a good comparison would be Cade Cunningham because he’s a big guard...he has court vision, and he knows what to do with the ball. In the NBA I would say pretty much a Damian Lillard if I get my shot going like that.
PI: What do you think makes a player successful off the court? Is there anyone that you model yourself after in that way?
DN: A successful NBA player off the court..hmm...I’m trying to be like LeBron James. You know he helps everybody, he doesn’t just think of himself, but he thinks of everybody else on the team. He thinks about the kids and all that...he gives back, that’s what I’m trying to get to.
PI: Please explain what Daishen Nix brings to a team, regardless of the situation – name some things on the court and some things off the court.
DN: I bring my personality off the court, pretty much just funny, goofing around, but I know when to take it serious...I know when it’s time to focus. Off the court, I listen to music pretty much, doing my own thing, getting my team hyped up out of nowhere.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
DN: Always mentally prepared every day.
PI: What has been a defining moment or story in your life? Why has that stuck with you and what did you learn from it?
DN: Moving to my coach’s house (Coach Lockridge – Trinity International) because my coach, he has one house and the whole team stays in one house and he’s pretty much like the father figure to us...like he took over that role for me in these past four years, so it’s been pretty good, lately.
PI: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
DN: Hopefully in the NBA. I’m trying to be like the first rookie to make the All-Pro/All-Star team, and probably trying to give back to Alaska, my old community.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
DN: I want to be remembered for that person that helps his whole team make it. I’m not trying to focus on myself. You know I’m going to UCLA, but I don’t want to be selfish and not help my team...I want them all to make it.