By: Greg Levinsky
With the addition of six-foot-nine, 230 pound forward Jack Hemphill, Head Coach Joe Jones and the Boston University Men’s Basketball team added another much needed post player for the 2018-2019 campaign. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Hemphill signed his National Letter of Intent on Nov. 4, 2017.
Greg Levinsky: Describe the way you play, who do you model your game after?
Jack Hemphill: I think I can do a lot of things really with the ball and around the basket. I think I shoot the ball really well. I play well inside, I move and stuff, and I play really hard. I think an NBA comparison would be like a Kevin Love, David Lee, somebody like that who can play inside and out, and shoots a lot of jumpers.
GL: Who’d you root for growing up? Duke or UNC?
JH: Actually, NC State’s in Raleigh. My mom went to NC State so I kind of grew up an NC State fan. My sister goes to UNC now, but honestly I don’t even care. I always said I’m going to root for wherever I go to school, so I’ll be a Terrier fan.
GL: Who is the toughest player or team you’ve played against in AAU or high school hoops?
JH: I would say DeAndre Ayton probably. He’s pretty tough. I mean we won, but he’s obviously a super talented player and it was tough. I guarded him a couple of possessions. It was fun, though.
GL: What other schools were on your radar and what put BU over the top?
JH: I took three official visits. One was obviously to BU and the other two were to Wisconsin and UNCW. Other schools I looked at were College of Charleston, [and] St. Joseph’s. I was pretty fortunate; I finished with 24 offers before I committed. I had some options. What put BU over the top was really just a combination of everything I was looking for, which was a great school academically which I could use after basketball, an opportunity to play early in my career and have a really good career there, and then a school that I could really enjoy socially and be comfortable at. Also, a great relationship with all the coaches and the team there. They just really felt right for me.
GL: You played in the NBPA Top 100 Camp, how was that?
JH: It was really cool. Obviously I wasn’t one of the top guys there, so I went in knowing that I really wanted to make a name for myself, and I think I did that. I was the second leading scorer on my team of 10 players that were all supposed to be top 100 players, and I think that I did pretty well. The biggest think I took away was just trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible from all the NBA players and former NBA players there. I really just wanted to take full advantage of that, and learn as much as possible because that’s where I want to be one day. I really enjoyed that camp, and competing against other top players there.
GL: Given that the camp is run by current and former NBA players, who did you learn the most from?
JH: You have an NBA player that coaches your team and mine was Beno Udrih. It was just a lot of little things. Like how the NBA game is played, it’s really different. There’s so much spacing. There’s always a shooter in the corner, the deep corner like almost out of bounds. Different types of ball screens and how to play ball screens I learned more about. Just like little fundamental things that they would go over.
GL: What was it like playing for Chris Paul’s AAU program? What was that experience like playing for an NBA player’s EYBL team?
JH: It was really cool. The EYBL experience was cool because you really get to see who’s really out there, who the best players are out there. You get to compete against those guys and measure yourself up against those guys. That was a lot of fun. I played 17-under two years. My first year I didn’t play as much as I would have liked to or really contribute as much as I would’ve liked to. It was really cool seeing all the top players my first year, and that offseason I worked my butt off to get better and the next year, having a pretty solid year against those guys which was really cool to me. Playing for Chris Paul’s team was really cool because he, probably more so than any other NBA player who has a team, puts a lot of time and energy into it. When we went to LA, we went to his house and had a cookout there. He went to all of our games and basically coached us in LA and Vegas which was really cool. The little insight he gives was really cool, especially from someone like him. Spending time with somebody of that caliber was an awesome experience.
GL: Being from North Carolina, I already have an idea of your answer this this question. If you were to upset any team in the NCAA Tournament, who would it be and why?
JH: Definitely UNC, North Carolina. A lot of people I know go there and it’s probably the most well liked college basketball team around here. There’s so much fan support. People from Duke, no one from North Carolina really goes to Duke or likes Duke. It’s mostly people from up north that go there. It’s a bunch of UNC fans down here. People just worship UNC. I don’t dislike UNC, I have some friends who go there, but I’d love to beat them. I know a lot of their players too. Our two guards from CP3 are going there next year so it’d be a lot of fun to upset them.