Jan. 10, 2011
This article was originally published in the Jan. 2/5 edition of Wake Forest's basketball gameday magazine, which is given away at all men's basketball home games.
Q: When did you first start playing basketball?
A: When I first started playing basketball I was probably around the age of 10, organized basketball with AAU. My first basketball memory is, of course, scoring on the wrong basket. It's probably the most embarrassing thing that's happened to me. I remember it was a fastbreak, and I was wondering why nobody was chasing me down, and then I found out I was shooting on the wrong basket.
Q: When did you first realize you were "good" at basketball?
A: Probably my seventh or eighth grade year, playing middle school basketball. Starting as a seventh grader was just very rare at the time for some reason, and I actually picked up my first scholarship offer in the eighth grade [to Baylor University], so at that time I figured it was something serious.
Q: Were you always one of the better and taller players on the court growing up playing basketball?
A: Yes. Earlier, it was because of my size, and I was very quick. With my size and speed, plus good ball-handling ability and a jump shot, that really gave me an advantage playing. I was definitely one of the bigger guys on the court.
Q: What is the one area of your game that you have had to work the hardest on to improve?
A: There's not really a particular area, it's just overall, I have to improve my whole game. You know, playing at this level, playing in the ACC on this team with all these guys, you just have to step your game up and take it to another level.
Q: What is the one area of your game that has just seemed to come naturally?
A: Being strong with the ball and attacking the rack. It's just strength basically.
Q: What is the best memory of your high school basketball career?
Q: What coach or mentor has had the most influence on your basketball career?
A: There was this one game, we were playing Durham Jordan. We were down one and coach called a timeout. In the huddle, I just told them to give me the ball and we'll win this game. Coming back into the game, they got me the ball and I made the shot, so I felt like I did something then. I just had that feeling that I could do it.
A: Tony Edwards. He was a family figure; he was like my dad at first. He's always been a part of the family since I was young. He never went away. Since I was 2, I can remember Tony always being there and he was really the one that said "Melvin, you're good." He told me to try basketball and now I'm happy with the situation I'm in.
Q: What were you looking for in a college when you were being recruited?
A: Getting recruited was the most hectic time, the most confusing time, it was so many emotions wrapped up in being recruited. In all, you don't want to let anyone down, you don't want to hurt any of the coaches' feelings. Even though they're probably used to having people come and go, it's just really hard. I'm a really compassionate person, and it's hard to just say "no" to somebody. With Wake, I just had that feeling. It's close to home, it's in the ACC and it's given me a great opportunity to play early in my career. Coming in with all those advantages on my side, I was like "Why not choose Wake?"
Q: What do you see yourself doing after your basketball career is finished?
A: I actually want to major in communications and maybe a minor in journalism, so I could be a sports anchor. That way I don't have to go too far out of my comfort zone. I think Charles Barkley is amazing because he always speaks his mind. I love Magic Johnson, I love all the past players that do that now.