Big man Nick McMullen had quite the productive spring/summer with Team Felton on the Under Armour circuit as he saw his recruitment blossom with offers from over 20 mid-major programs at the Division I level. Now, he's due for a strong senior season at Ben L. Smith High School and I caught up with him at the HoopCities Invitational to gather his thoughts on how things are going entering the 2019-20 season.
Q: You committed early in the recruiting game to Murray State. What motivated that commitment?
Nick McMullen: Well, that's where I took my first official visit and just instantly fell in love with the family environment. I like the players, coaching staff and facilities. I felt like I could really achieve my goals from there even though it's a mid-major program. I just felt like it was home for me there.
Q: What part of your game have you been really working on?
NM: Working on my wing skills. Ball-handling, shooting from the 3-point line and mid-range, slashing, becoming a better passer. Just trying to extend my game out to the wing as I approach the next level.
Q: Who on this roster do you think will surprise some people other than yourself?
NM: I think...well I know who will surprise people this season is our point guard Khalid Hinds. He's an underrated point guard about 5'9"-5'10" that's really good, really quick and can shoot the ball. And as you saw, he can shoot the ball really as he made back-to-back 3-pointers one point in the game.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?
NM: I'm looking forward to having a good senior season and enjoying it with my team and I'm looking to go undefeated and win a state championship.
The Ben L. Smith Golden Eagles will be a talented group this season and as Nick McMullen said, Khalid Hinds is a 2020 point guard that will surprise a lot of people this season with his ability to defend all over the floor and score on all three levels on offense. He isn't the only prospect to keep an eye on, either. The Golden Eagles have a talent-filled roster of prospects and McMullen and Hinds are just a few of the names. Stay tuned for me to come on that!
United Faith Christian Academy has quite an emerging star on their hands in 6-foot-8 wing Josh Massey. Massey saw his stock rise quite a bit this past spring/summer on the EYBL circuit with Team United. After generating a number of offers from college programs like Wofford, Elon and Western Carolina in the state, he ultimately ended up committing to Western Carolina in their 2020 class.
1) You held a number of offers from some mid-major programs in the state of North Carolina. What ultimately made you decide on Western Carolina?
Joshua Massey: Honestly, it was the family-type environment there. Then, the campus and program felt right as soon as I went up there, and most importantly the coaches. They are coaches I feel like I can relate to and I can talk to them about anything not just basketball. Their style of play really fits the way I play as well.
2) With Team United this past summer, you really emerged as a solid three-level scoring threat and watched your recruitment pick up in a matter of months. What was the biggest thing that played a role in your emergence over the spring/summer?
JM: Just playing with more confidence and establishing that dog mentality. I developed a mentality when I stepped on the court that nobody can guard me. I just played with more passion and put more trust in myself and the things I've been working on.
3) With the high school season finally upon us, which one of your teammates are you most excited to get out on the floor with this season?
JM: Probably 2021 guard Cedric Patterson. I played with him in a few tournaments during the AAU season when he played up with our squad on Team United. The way he can score and pass and run the floor is something I'm looking forward to.
4) What's the difference between this year's team that makes it a better group than last year?
JM: This year, I think that we compete at a higher level than we did last season. We can get out and run the floor really well as a unit and we will have a lot of mismatches on the floor that we should be able to use to our advantage.
5) What are you looking forward to the most this season?
JM: I’m looking foward to just honestly watching everything I’ve worked on come into play this year. Just playing at a high level and competing at a high level and just trying to make a run for a ring this year.
Catch Massey and company this season at United Faith Christian Academy. They begin their season on Nov. 8 against Carolina Christian.