PFB - Isaac Likekele Q&A (Part 2): On What Will Translate and Why He Can’t Wait for GIA

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Greenhorn
Feb 17, 2018
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We ran Part 1 of this interview with Isaac Likekele on Wednesday. His name, by the way, is pronounced “likely.” Let’s pick it up with Part 2. Thanks again to Isaac for his time.

Kyle Porter: You had a great high school career. I’m curious who the best guy you went against was?

Isaac Likekele: I still think the best guy ever played was CJ Massinburg. He’s over there Buffalo right now.

KP: What was it about him that was so good?

IL: That man, he had the whole package, I was just a young freshman, but to this day I still don’t think that I played anybody that was better than him in high school.

KP: What’s the part of your game that’s improved most since you were a freshman, and maybe what part do you think will translate best in college?

IL: My shooting ability has gotten better, that’s something I worked on. My handles, my dribbling has gotten way better. I think what’s going to translate best for me is my play-making ability at the next level. For myself and for others. My defense, and on top of that my leadership and my hard-nosed mentality. I have a mentality of playing hard all the time and being tough. Play-making, being a leader, being tough and being a great defender. All those will translate great to the next level.

KP: How hard is it to come into a new situation as somebody who’s the top-ranked recruit in this class and be a leader and step into that leadership role? Do you think that will be difficult for you or do you think you’ll blend in well?

IL: I think I’ll blend in well. There’s already some players there, and we just picked up a senior grad transfer (Mike Cunningham). He’s been doing this for four years obviously. I think I can learn some things from him since he’s been there the past four years. I’m not just trying to go in there and automatically act like I’m the man. Stuff like that has to be earned. But at the end of the day I feel like I can learn some things from my teammates and yet still be the leader that I am.

KP: What are you most excited about about playing college ball?

IL: I’m most excited about the home games at Stillwater. Whenever that place gets rolling and the team gets the rolling, it gets crazy in there. I’ve seen it on TV I never got to go to a game and see it, but I’ve seen it on TV and the atmosphere is crazy.

KP: Yeah I was there for the Trae Young game earlier this year, and it’s pretty electric. It was pretty awesome. Coach Boynton raved about your off-the-court character, who you are. Who do you look up to off the court and how have you kind of developed that over the last few years?

IL: I look up to my dad. He raised me to be a strong, good character young man. Always taught me to do the right things. He’s the one that got me to be the great ethical man I am right now with good morals.

KP: What does your dad do?

IL: My dad works for Southwest Airlines.

KP: Some readers wrote in some questions, somebody wanted to know what your first impression of coach Boynton was.

IL: My first impression of coach Boynton is that he’s a great guy. Me and him automatically clicked as soon as we met. He’s also really a hard worker. That’s what really drew me toward the school. He’s a hard worker with a great work ethic. I feel like coach Boynton had the vision to bring the best player out of me. To bring my best out of me. I feel like he can do that. That’s why I chose him to go play for him.

KP: Why do you wear No. 13?

IL: I wear No. 13 because my old favorite number used to be 12. Then it used to be 14. Then whenever I chose 13 that’s when James Harden was just getting hot and he chose 13. I was like, ‘you know what I’m going to go ahead and represent 13 on the younger level.’ So me and him can both be the 13 killers. Ever since then I just like how 13 looks on me.

KP: What’s the best piece of basketball advice you’ve ever received in your life?

IL: That’s tough. I feel like the best piece I’ve ever received is something very simple. Work hard. Whatever you do, whatever task you’re trying to accomplish. As long as you work hard then I feel like you can accomplish it. Whether it’s trying to get your shooting better, your handles better, your speed. As long as you work hard and focus on it, then I feel like you can accomplish it. I’d say that’s the best thing somebody has told me.

KP: Do you enjoy talking hoops and discussing your career?

IL: I like it because I’m the type of guy who likes to be interactive with the people cheering me on. I want to get to know everybody in Stillwater. I want to get to know a lot of people. For them to come to the games, they’re going to want to know me. They’re not going to come cheer on some stranger.

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