Q: How excited are you to represent country, and how has the experience been so far at USA Basketball?
Nimari Burnett: I feel honored to be able to represent my country. I'm thankful to be a part of it, and God put me in a position to be a part of it. It's really fun to be able to play against all the people you see on social media and stuff like that. It's a chance of a lifetime to be able to go out and prove yourself. Just go out there and have fun, that's the main thing, and create relationships that last a lifetime.
You had a ton of success for Team WhyNot last season. How does your mindset change going into year two of the EYBL?
NB: Last year since I came to the EYBL mid-season, I wasn't expecting to get where we got as far as Peach Jam. I definitely knew we were going to get to Peach Jam but didn't think we'd get so far. Now my focus is to win the whole thing. Last year we got far and people counted us out, people weren't expecting us to make it to the finals. I'm just ready to win it all this year.
On paper, it looks like you guys could be even better this year. Talk about team chemistry and playing with Devin and Addison.
NB: Definitely. Me and Devin created a relationship for sure. We talked a lot about him coming over to Team WhyNot. Addison (Patterson) I've known since from the beginning of this season, he plays with Bella Vista and I play with Prolific. We created a good relationship and a good bond. I play with Devin here at USA Basketball, we're on the same team right now. To be able to get that chemistry early feels good, and hopefully, during the EYBL sessions, we can go out and have fun.
The program is sponsored by Russell Westbrook. How cool is it to lean on him as a mentor?
NB: It's great. Russell, he's always there and supportive. If he's not there, he's texting. We feel his presence everywhere we go and we just want to represent him. We just know he's a great basketball player and more importantly a great person, so we just want to go out and play well for him.
What's the most important aspect for you when picking a school at the next level?
NB: The most important aspect is a combination of a good coaching staff, a school with a good history, and a program that can help me get my game to the next level so I can flourish mentally and physically.