Posted On: 10/1/18 5:38 PM
West Nottingham Academy will have eight new faces this year, all transfers, who will look to build off of their 19-13 season last year in head coach Kris Johnson’s first stint with the program. One of the impact transfers to watch will be 2020 wing Tomiwa Sulaiman. Sulaiman hails from the UK where he played with the U18 Great Britain National Team this past summer and finished Deng Top 50 camp ranked as the No. 2 overall player.
We caught up with the 6-foot-5 wing recently after an open gym to discuss a variety of topics.
PH: Is this your first time in the U.S.?
TS: Yes, I’ve lived in London my entire life.
PH: When did you get here and how has your experience been thus far?
TS: I got here a little over two weeks ago. So far it’s been great. I’m liking the new style of basketball. It’s a lot more free than it is Europe and I like it because it lets me express and show more. I’m really enjoying it here and I’m really liking my team too.
PH: It’s only been two weeks, but what are your expectations for this year?
TS: I just feel like I need to prove myself more because I’m from England. We aren’t known for basketball, so I’m coming to the big league where the best players in the world are, so my mentality for everything has changed. I have to step up my game, be more vocal, have to be more dominant on the floor and not try to make myself better, but my teammates better as well. I’m just looking to be a leader. There are going to be times where we take a tough loss and I’m looking forward to being the guy who steps up and keeps everyone motivated during those times.
PH: How would you describe your game?
TS: I think I’m a good three-point shooter. I can shoot off the screen and I can also catch and shoot. If someone leaves me open, I’m not hesitant to take the shot. I can play good one-on-one defense, even though that’s something I’m focusing on improving, I still think I’m pretty good in that aspect. I can rebound as well. I feel like the defense falls asleep once the shot goes up, so I stay active and use my athleticism to grab a good number of rebounds.
PH: You finished strong at Deng Top 50 Camp this summer. Describe how that entire experience was for you.
TS: It’s the top 50 players in all of the UK. So we go against each other throughout a four-day camp and compete in front of scouts who rank you. Coming in, I was ranked seventh, so I knew I had to come in and prove myself. You really want to be somewhere in the top five since the basketball in England is not that good. I really pushed myself. The guy who finished above me I knew was really good, so when I finished second I knew that I belonged. I shot very well. I finished shooting 48 percent from three. I led the entire camp in steals. I didn’t believe in myself before the camp, but once I got there, my mindset was to leave everything on the table. Fortunately enough I’m eligible to go back to the camp next year, so I’m coming for the top spot.
PH: Have you set any goals for yourself for this season?
TS: I need to maintain a good three-point percentage. I’m not a bulk shooter, but when I shoot I want to be very efficient. I’m not trying to look for fouls for flop, so I’m focusing on every shot that I take I take with a purpose to score 100 percent of the time.
PH: Who are some players who you find yourself studying the most?
TS: I think I’m like Victor Oladipo. He’s a massive inspiration for me and I think the journey that he has went through where he started to where he is now. Again, not a lot of people believed in him, but he put in the work and now is doing very well in the NBA. He proved everyone wrong and that’s what I’m trying to do. He’s never satisfied and neither am I.
Check out #2 ranked Tomiwa Sulaiman highlights at this years #DengTop50
— DENG Camp (@DengCamp) September 19, 2018