For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series presented by Babcock Hoops, we have Sadraque Nganga, from Luanda, Angola:
Prospective Insight: Describe your game – what are your greatest strengths and biggest areas for improvement? What’s the most underrated aspect of your game?
Sadraque Nganga: Sometimes people say I look good, sometimes they say I look bad, but yeah it’s ok.
PI: Can you share a little bit about your background?
SN: I’m from Angola, and now I live in Arizona. I come here for school and basketball, yeah that’s it.
PI: Do any of your family members play sports?
SN: I have one sister that’s younger, she plays basketball. She’s 13 years old. She’s tall, like 6’4. My grandpa is tall, too.
PI: How long have you been playing basketball?
SN: I started to play basketball in 2016...at first I played soccer and my dad told me I’m too tall for soccer. Yeah the first time I played basketball I didn’t like to play basketball, but I keep going, and most people ask me “when did you start to play basketball?” and I say that “I started to play in 2016” and they say, “oh, you’re too good” and I keep going and now I love basketball.
PI: When you started playing did the game come easy to you? Were you discovered quickly and moved to Arizona? What’s your story?
SN: I’ll tell you my story for Arizona...my girlfriend’s brother, he seen me play then one day he come watch my friend and he seen me play and he said “you’re too good, I need to talk to your dad about coming to America.” First of all I don’t like coming to America, and he said “it will be good for you.” My dad come and talked with me and my mom said, “if you really love me then you’ll go and do what you’re supposed to do.” I’m here for my mom first of all, because I love my mom, she wanted better for me, and I come here. I love Nuno Muandumba (legal guardian in US) , he helped me a lot and yeah that’s it.
PI: How’s the transition been to the United States?
SN: Yeah it’s been difficult...like you can’t hear what people say, I come here and I don’t speak English and I can’t hear people, like they speak too fast. Man every time I call my mom I say “I want to come back home, I don’t want to stay here” and she says “oh, you need to stay here (Arizona) that’s good for you” and I said, “that’s not good for me, you lied to me.” First I think my mom don’t like me, I said “if you like me you don’t want me to stay here, I don’t understand what people say” and now God helped me, I understand what people say, now I can speak and it has gotten better for me here.
PI: Where have you learned your English? School? Movies?
SN: From school, I heard people say things...I have a friend that speaks to me and said it’s easier when you watch movies and can understand what people say, focusing in school, yeah, focusing in school, and now I keep getting better and better, I think it’s easy.
PI: Do you feel like playing soccer has helped your basketball skills?
SN: Yeah...my footwork that I have is from soccer and a lot of people tell me that. I think it helped me to play soccer now that I’m a basketball player (with foot speed, coordination, etc.)
PI: What are the primary goals you want to accomplish before your high school basketball career is over?
SN: First of all I want to help my team to play like a team, because I can play only me, and I want more championships, but I just want to help my team...depending on what team I’m going on I’m going to try to do my best to help the team.
PI: College or pro, current or former player – do you model your game after anyone?
SN: I like to watch Kevin Durant...yeah, that’s my favorite player.
PI: Which position do you view yourself as?
SN: For me, I like to play guard. PG. People tell me “but you’re 6’10,” but I see the difference because I’m 6’10”, and if I got a tall guy like me that’s going to be easy for me...if I got a small guy I’m going to play post a little bit and if I got a post player then I like to play PG.
PI: What are some things development-wise that you have been working on lately?
SN: I work on my shot and my skill...like rebounding and passing...I like watching Magic Johnson because he can pass...people say I pass like Magic Johnson, so yeah, I like to work on my passing more, because if you pass more the scoring becomes more easy you know what I mean? Like if you pass people the ball and you come and you’re going to score it’s going to be more easy for you. I need to work on my rebounding, my shot, and my passing...that’s where I need to keep working.
PI: Please explain what Sada Nganga brings to a team, regardless of the situation – name some things on the court and some things off the court.
SN: First of all I bring some energy, I need to be the first one to do things for my teammates so they can do it too. I play some defense, I pass the ball, and I make shots. I can’t talk too much, but I can show other people how to do it. I want to bring some energy for my team, pass the ball, play like a team — not just play for me, but play for team — because if I win, there will be no me there is going to be the team...that’s why I like to play for the team. Help my team and do what I’m supposed to do. I show others...if I’m on the court I’m going to show what I am.