In his interview with Big 12 insider Wendell Barnhouse at the conference’s men’s basketball media day, Georges Niang talks about how losing the weight has improved his ability, replacing Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane, and talks about how dangerous the backcourt can be.
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Niang said that after the injury he suffered in the NCAA tournament, his weight ballooned up to 260. Over the spring and summer, he lost over 30 pounds.
“After my injury I got up to 260,” Niang said, “and now I’m down to 227.”
Niang played at anywhere from 240-250 pounds during the season, so it’s a significant loss of mass that he believes will help him move on the court.
Mar 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Georges Niang (31) shoots as Kansas Jayhawks forward Tarik Black (25) defends during the first half in the semifinals of the Big 12 Conference college basketball tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
“A lot of pressure is off my knees,” Niang said. “I think it’ll help me through this long grueling season. It’ll help me get up and down the floor a little bit faster.”
It’s just about impossible to replace two guys as talented as Kane and Ejim, and Niang points to how they acted off the court as well. He hopes to improve both in assists and rebounds to fill the void that both of them left.
“Melvin and DeAndre were off-the-court leaders; they did great things on the court [too],” Niang said. “Picking up the slack there, I want to do a better job of getting my teammates involved like DeAndre did. I’d also like to improve my rebounding.”
Other notable quotes from Niang
On Dustin Hogue after his career game against Connecticut in New York.
"“After since that New York game, Dustin hasn’t slowed down in his workouts. I think the kid just lives for the moment…A guy that plays that hard every night– you want to play just as hard as he does.”"
On what Bryce Dejean-Jones brings to the table.
"“Bryce is a little bit different. Bryce is really talented, super athletic 2-guard who can shoot it and has a real good pull-up game, but he’s also shown he can really get to the rim.”"
Thoughts on the backcourt with Dejean-Jones and last year’s explosive newcomer, Monte Morris.
"“That’s going to be a dangerous backcourt, and I’m excited to see it. I can’t wait for our first matchup with any Big 12 team.”"
On playing in the Big 12.
"“Every night’s a battle. One to ten, you’ve got to be ready to go every night whether you’re down in Lubbock or at the Phog.”"
On being ranked fifth in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll.
"“It is what it is. Preseason rankings don’t really mean anything to us. It’s how you finish in the end.”"
Quotes from Big 12 Men’s Basketball Media Day Show