Sunday, January 15, 2017

Uno En Uno With: Jamari Wheeler, The Rock Basketball

ZS: Which aspects of Duquesne's program had most appeal to you, and how do you feel your game will best fit their style of play?

JW: Man, I just love all of the coaches up there. I love how they play, the fact that they run it and get up and down the floor. Plus, they in the A-10. So I feel like I'm going to go there and have an opportunity to play my game right away and then play at the next level after college. Right now, getting better everyday until I get there on campus is keeping me motivated.

ZS: You guys are now 18-1, all of sudden in the realm of basketball relevance in not just Florida but the entire country. What do you attribute the success to and what does Coach (Justin) Hardin preach to you guys, in order to sustain this effort?

JW: Defense, defense, defense! Coach Hardin really emphasizes defense and the importance of talking and communicating on defense so we see everything on the floor. That's his number one priority. That's what coach preaches to us 24/7. It's all about the defense with him.

ZS: Getting a lengthy, versatile 6-foot-9 forward in Daniel Mading has really helped you guys this season. How much of an addition has he been?

JW: Everybody who knows basketball knows how good he is. He's a top wing in the nation in the Class of 2017. I think his offers (Pittsburgh, Cal, Texas Tech, Providence, Butler, Georgetown, Iowa State) really indicate just how good he is.

ZS: What's the goal for this team and how do you feel you are being represented throughout the country and in the state of Florida?

JW: Just to be honest, we feel as The Rock basketball team as a whole is under-rated and we should be ranked throughout the nation in the upper echelons. Darius and myself, we both feel like we should be ranked in the nation. That's the type of confidence we got. Antrell feels like she should be Top-25 in Florida.

ZS: Which other schools offered and recruited you throughout the process and how did you narrow it down and eventually decide that Duquesne was the right place for you?

JW: Oh man...First, I had Bowling Green University and Chattanooga University. Then James Madison, Duquesne, University of Texas-San Antonio, Stetson, Buffalo, Jacksonville U, Georgia Southern, and finally VCU.

I originally narrowed it down to five schools and I was set on visiting all five. But when I visited Duquesne the players were comfortable to be around and I really got to know the coaches. They put academics first and made sure I knew I had to work for everything I was going to get. Plus, I wanted to play in a big conference.

ZS: Your younger brother, Antrell Charlton, has come a long way in a short period of time. He most recently stood out with a 17-point effort during the win over Oldsmar. How do you push him being the older brother and what's your relationship like?

JW: It's a really good relationship, I love playing with him to be honest. At practice, we make sure we always on the other team so we can go at each other. We just want to feed off our energy, like our competitiveness. That's why I want Duquesne to offer him and have him come play college ball with me.