Fred Hoiberg got some big news on Saturday when Salt Lake Community College point guard Cam Mack committed to and signed with Nebraska during his visit to Lincoln.
Mack is the kind of dynamic point guard that can thrive in Fred Hoiberg’s up-tempo system and he has three years of eligibility left. On Wednesday, he joined Chris Schmidt on Hail Varsity Radio to discuss his relationship with the Nebraska coaches, his development as a player, his role at Nebraska and plenty more.
Skip ahead to the 59-minute mark to hear the full interview or read on below for a full transcription.
HV: How the last few days been?
“The last few days have been incredible, just having the support and getting ready to go to Nebraska in June. It’s exciting.”
HV: Take us back when you first connected with Coach Abdelmassih. Tell us how you guys built a relationship.
“We first started in early October, him seeing me play in Denver and we just kind of connected and started talking. Previously, he was at St. John’s at the time, so when he offered me I took a visit and I really, really enjoyed it. From that point on, me and him have been close. Also when I committed, his first child was born so it was kind of like a special day for him.”
HV: Tell us about your visit to Nebraska. Was it something that was on your radar with Abdelmassih obviously coming to Lincoln and how did the ability for you to make a decision to visit move forward?
“When I got to Nebraska I had fans waiting for me at the airport that wanted to take pictures with me and talk to me, so it was kind of instant, having that. When I got down here, I had mad love, like super love, from like the fans, the community, just telling me how big I am and how much they want me to be a part of the program. So it just felt all right.”
HV: Did you land in Lincoln or Omaha?
“I landed in Omaha. So I had fans in Omaha saying ‘Welcome to Nebraska,’ and then when I got to Lincoln, fans were there too. I just felt good. It made it feel like home.”
HV: Tell us about your game.
“When you come to watch me play, I’m always going to have the crowd saying ‘Ooh, ah,’ just something different. I’m an up-tempo guy, I like to get in people, I like to score points, I like to play fast, I like to get my teammates involved because that’s what I’m very good at, getting my teammates involved. You’re going to get a lot out of me for next year. I just want to win. That’s what I’m coming to do: just win.”
HV: Tell me about your development and the jumps you made playing ball in Texas and then the year in Salt Lake and now headed to Lincoln. What have you had to work most on with your game? You’re really good with both hands; is that something that was natural or was that a point of emphasis for you?
“When I was in Utah, I mainly just wanted to keep working on my jumper because I can shoot, but I wanted to get better. You always want to get better. So mainly just my jump shot and then finishing with contact with my opposite hand, just mainly using both hands finishing through contact because at the next level there are going to be big, big, big post players and big men down there, so you have to be able to finish with both hands.”
HV: What’s your routine like? What’s an offseason workout or even an in-season workout for you when it comes to shooting drills. What do you like to do to get better at that jumper?
“In the morning, early morning, I always want to go get a lot of pull-ups, a lot of 3s, just off-the-dribble 3s, off-the-screen 3s, so I always get my shots up in the morning. Then late at night, around like 10-30, 11:30, I go to the gym by myself and get another workout in with pull-up 3s, mid-range, off-the-dribble. I just try to make myself do what I’, going to do int he games late at night and in the morning. Mainly just in-game routine stuff.”
HV: Take us through that conversation you had with Coach Hoiberg about your fit and the plans for you coming in.”
“I always want a coach to keep it honest with me and tell me straight up what he has in store and what I’m bringing to the team. I just like how he was real with me and kept it honest with me with his run the show, run the point, get my team involved, push the pace, get up in defenders, just play how I normally play. That’s all you can ask for in a head coach. Him having confidence in me for me to lead this team in the Big Ten is just incredible. So I have a lot of love and respect for Coach Hoiberg.”
HV: Did it hit home with you as far as how he described that role for you?
“He told me straight up he wants me to play the point and me and Jervay in the backcourt, me and Dachon, just a lot of pieces we have for next year. He just wants me to get my teammates involved and do my thing.”
HV: Did you connect with Nebraska’s newest commit, Western Kentucky transfer Dalano Banton, during your visit?
“I committed, it was a good day for me, and he was kind of like, ‘How you feel?’ I’m like ‘I’m feeling good, bro. This is the place for me. I know that I made the right move.’ I kind of knew he wanted to commit, I just didn’t want to say anything yet.”
HV: Do you have a projection at all of what the roster will look like in June?
“Me and Fred, we talk every day. That’s my head coach, I’m his PG, so we kind of have our own talks. He kind of just tells me and I see for myself who’s on the roster and stuff.”
HV: What are your expectations? What are you planning for year one?
“Year one, which is coming up soon, I would like for us to win a lot of games in the Big Ten. I want to win the Big Ten, honestly, because we haven’t won the Big Ten in a minute. And just go to the Dance. You work hard to go to the Dance, so just get to the Dance and make some noise in the Dance and we’ll just go from there.”
HV: Tell us a little about Jervay Green and his style and the tag-team you guys can be.
“Jervay, we played against each other in junior college and we just connected. What I really like about Jervay is he’s a winner. Even though we were up, he was still coming, he was still going hard, he was still trying to make shots, still trying to score and bring his team back. That is what I liked about him. He never gave up. That’s just a good teammate you want to have and a good player you want to have on your team. His skill set is incredible. He can finish, he can shoot, he has a lot of hops, he can jump very high, he has a lot of the stuff that I can do. Just having somebody that can do the same thing as you on the court and his basketball IQ is very, very good just like mine, that’s just dynamic. I just can’t wait.”
HV: Had you ever been to Nebraska before your visit?
“No sir, I had not been to Nebraska.”
HV: What were you expecting?
“I really thought, honestly it was not as big as it was and I thought it was just a lot of grass and not a lot of buildings. It kind of shocked me how big it was and how many people were in the city. The support with the basketball team and the football team, just having support, you need that. I just liked it, I just loved it, honestly.”
HV: Is there a player in the NBA that you’re a huge fan of and do you pattern your game after anybody?
CM: My favorite point guard in the NBA is Damian Lillard just because he’s an underdog. He doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He’s a silent assassin — he just kills and he stays quiet, he’s not loud, he’s not cocky. He just plays his game. That’s who my favorite point guard is. I try to mimic my game after John Wall because me and him are just so fast and he can finish off-hand, either hand, he pushes up-tempo and he has extreme hops. I try to mimic my game after John Wall.
HV: Do you have Lillard range?
CM: I can’t shoot like Lillard. That’s what we’re working on now, but I can shoot enough to say Dame Lillard is my favorite point guard.