Posted On: 12/18/17 8:02 PM
After transferring to Aspire Academy in Louisville and filling an immediate void at point guard, Joel Ntambwe has formed a radiant inside-outside game with 6-foot-11 Charles Bassey. Out of the Congo, Ntambwe is a highly-skilled guard/forward who can put the ball on the deck and create. Shouldering a European guard skill-set, he’s able to get into the lane and finish with either hand. Crafty at scoring the ball, Ntambwe is still developing a consistent mid-range game.
As a facilitator first, Ntambwe’s deft dishing was on full display during the first day of the Amusement Park Classic in Orlando. We caught up with Ntambwe and discussed the evolution of his little brother, 6-foot-9 Class of 2021 forward Jon Kuminga of Huntington Prep (WV).
PH: Tell me about your “little” brother, Jonathon Kuminga. How do you describe quick development of this young man? How has he come along, basketball-wise, and what do you attribute his recent success to?
JN: Man, he’s about 6-foot-9. He’s the same height as me. He’s one of the top players in his class right now for sure. He is very hungry and you see it by the way he prioritizes the game and always wants to be in the gym and play against the best.
He always had the skill and the talent and the love for the game.
The growth spurt has really helped him flourish as one of the best players in the class of 2021. It’s really allowed his game to blossom as he becomes one of the best young players in the country, which is his aspiration as a player. I’d love to be on the same court with him, whether on his team or against him because we would both want to put on a show. It would be special since we are family.
PH: Who is in heaviest pursuit right now, recruiting wise?
JN: To be honest I haven’t talked to anybody lately, I didn’t want to jinx myself and start talking and talking.
You have to let your game do the talking sometimes and let all the other things fall into place. Like they say with the American expression, ‘talk is cheap.’ On the floor and with your game is where you should talk the most. And talk the loudest, really. I know Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh just reached out to (legal guardian) Dave (Caputo). I’ve got offers from Cincinnati, Providence, Arkansas, UCLA, Wake Forest, Duquesne and some others.
PH: You’ve been saying all along you’d like to become a four or a five star guy and make an immediate impact in college. Which tweaks to your game would you need to make in order for everything to go as planned?
JN: Right now, I’m just working on getting better at every little thing. There is no one area of my game I focus on too much or put a bunch of time into.
I think by becoming good and serviceable in every category, I’m increasing my chances of being an instant impact guy. I’m increasing my chances by working on becoming a better defender.
Right now, I believe I can play defense on anybody and I can guard the one through the four. I’m also looking to get stronger, become more of a shot-blocker, and just continue to be a game-changer.
I don’t want to go into college and sit the bench my first year. Like I said before, that’s just not in the plans.
The goal is to find the right place where I can impact them right away and eventually find myself as a program changer. Then, when it is all said and done, I’ll have achieved my dream if I can shake the commish’s hand on a big stage in late June at the NBA draft. That’s what were working for.”