The Lehigh men’s basketball team is welcoming four first-years this season: guards Nasir Whitlock, Joshua Ingram, and Cameron Gillus, and forward Jake Pike. The Brown and White sat down with the first-years to discuss their first season at Lehigh.
Q: What was the determining factor in you choosing to play for Lehigh?
Nasir Whitlock: “I wanted somewhere I could flourish both as a basketball player and academically, and Lehigh was the best opportunity to do that.”
Joshua Ingram: “Coach Reed was one of the few head coaches who believed in me that I can play Division I basketball, and the education here is one of the top in the country.”
Cameron Gillus: “The basketball team has great history and is building into something that caught my eye and I wanted to be a part of. Along with that, Lehigh offers not only a great education but an outstanding network of people and resources that are available to help.”
Jake Pike: “One of the biggest factors in choosing to play for Lehigh was that I had a great relationship with the coaches, and all the guys on the team are super accepting and cool. This, on top of being a great academic institution in a great college town, made it a no-brainer.”
Q: What are you most excited for this season?
NW: “To compete at the collegiate level and to get some wins with my teammates and build a family.”
JI: “About playing my first college game at home.”
CG: “To just play college basketball — it has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. Always watching and being a fan of college basketball has made me want to reach this point, and now that I am here, I am just excited to go out and enjoy playing on this stage.”
JP: “To see what (Division I) college basketball is like, as well as living out my dream and being the guy little kids see on TV.”
Q: Who do you model your game after the most?
NW: “Damian Lillard.”
JI: “I modeled most of my game after my Dad.”
CG: “I couldn’t say one specific person. I take a lot of tips and things from many players. I like Kyle Lowry and Jrue Holiday for their defense and Dame Lillard with his mentality.”
JP: “I wouldn’t say that I model my game after anyone, I try to be my own player, but I love watching Vince Carter, Dirk (Nowitzki) and Kevin Durant for some inspiration.”
Q: What are your personal and team goals this season?
NW: “Win the Patriot League and win in the NCAA tournament.”
JI: “Our team goal is to win a Patriot League Championship and a personal goal would be getting better as a player throughout the season.”
CG: “I would just like to help and contribute to the team winning as much as possible. Whatever that requires me to do, I am going to do that to the best of my ability. As far as team goals, I want to win the Patriot League Championship and make it to March Madness. It would be a dream come true to make it and play on that stage.”
JP: “As a team, the goal is to win a Patriot League Championship, and individually, I’d just like to learn a lot and grow attuned to the college game so I can help any way the team needs me.”
Q: Who is your favorite NBA team and why?
NW: “I don’t really have a favorite team, but if I had to choose I would say the Lakers.”
JI: “I don’t have a favorite NBA team but I like watching players like LeBron (James), (Stephen) Curry, Kyrie (Irving), Luka (Dončić), Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox.”
CG: “The Golden State Warriors because Steph Curry is my favorite player in the league. Because of his story and how many people overlooked him as he came from a small school, it is powerful to see him succeed the way he does today.”
JP: “My favorite NBA team is the Oklahoma City Thunder. My grandparents live in Oklahoma and my mom and sisters went to college there, so when I was little I determined it would be my favorite team, and they have been through all the ups and downs.”
Q: What is your favorite thing to eat at Lehigh so far?
NW: “El Jefe’s.”
JI: “The quesadillas at Hawk’s Nest.”
CG: “The Gooseman sandwich shop.”
JP: “The Goose — I get two pinkeys with no pickles.”
Q: What would you like to do after Lehigh?
NW: “Play professional basketball and then either start a business or go into a family business with my dad and brothers.”
JI: “I would want to play professional basketball after Lehigh.”
CG: “I would like to pursue a career in the business field. Maybe something like investment banking. (I) would eventually want to work in New York on Wall Street.”
JP: “After Lehigh and outside of basketball, I would love to work in the front office of an NBA team or maybe work at Nike or in the FBI.”