Wednesday, February 15, 2012

RANDOMNESS with James Madison's Nikki Newman

Back with more RANDOMNESS, this time from James Madison junior Nikki Newman (7.2 rpg, 4.3 ppg, 23 starts), a kid whose game doesn't reflect in the statistics. Just ask anyone she's ever guarded. We're a few weeks away from the banquet, but she's our CAA Defensive Player of the Year.

Your real name?

Nicole Christine. My parents call me that sometimes, mainly my mother when I'm in trouble. Sometimes Coach Brooks calls me that. (And yes, she's been joked about the Nikki Newman character on "The Young and the Restless....)

Defensive stalwart. That's quite a compliment. But you can score, too (Newman amassed more than 1,000 points and 900 rebounds in a stellar career at Harrisonburg's Turner Ashby High School).

There are other things I do better than scoring. Going out and scoring 15 points a game is not something I'm worried about. It's not my thing.
With her bro

But defense?

I love defense. It's a mindset. My dad is a head football coach at Turner Ashby and he's all about defense. My brother played defense at JMU. My dad always said, "Defense wins championships." I get a good feeling getting to go up against the other team's best player.

Who's tough to guard?

Definitely Elena (Delle Donne). Courtney Hurt at VCU. When we played Virginia, Monica Wright was tough. And Carlee Roethisberger last year when we played Oklahoma (in the NCAA Tournament).

The secret of good D?

Sometimes Coach Brooks will talk to me about that fine line between being overly aggressive and picking up the dumbest fouls. Early on, I'd try to do too much. I absolutely hate sitting on the bench, so you won't see me getting into foul trouble a lot.

You grew up 10 minutes away from the JMU campus. Were you always planning to attend James Madison?

I only took one other visit (unofficial to Delaware). When me and my brother were growing up we went to all the football games. Everything in the house is purple and gold.

Your earliest JMU memory?

Nikki, the snake and prom
The main thing was going to the football games. It was before the renovations, and at the end of games, my brother and I would run out on the old track and the field.

Some folks describe Harrisonburg as a bit sleepy. Your thoughts?

Sometimes people ask, 'How did you grow up here? I can't imagine it.' It's gorgeous. I never thought of myself as country, but growing up we'd always go hiking in the mountains and horseback riding.

Your favorite restaurant in town?

Kyoto, the Japanese steakhouse.

Do you go home a lot?

My family and I are really close, so we're together a lot. I used to go home once a week for dinner. My mom is an unbelievable cook. She mixes a bunch of stuff together and it ends up tasting great.

Are you a dessert buff?

I love sweets. Anything chocolate. I'm a fanatic. I like coffee stuff, too.

Family pets?

At home we have two dogs, golden retrievers named Sluggo and Chief. My dad likes snakes. Growing up at one point, we had eight snakes. Now we have two -- a carpet tree python and a California King snake.

LeBron plays D, too.
That brings us to dinner. If you could have dinner with three people who would they be?

LeBron James -- I love LeBron James. Coach Brooks. He's so fun to be around. And my parents. (We told her that would be easy to arrange minus the James part.)

Your mom was a starter on a championship field hockey player (1982 Virginia Intercollegiate League) and lacrosse (1985, South Atlantic Conference) player at JMU. (Robyn Newman ranks 12th all time in JMU lacrosse in career goals, assists and points. Your father was a four- year lettermen in football (1979-82) and a member of JMU's first class of scholarship players. Your brother Charlie (JMU '10) played football for the Dukes. What an amazing athletic family! What else did you play?

When I was young, I plead soccer, travel softball (LF) and AAU basketball. I still played softball my freshman year of high school and I played volleyball my senior year.

When you're not playing basketball, practicing, studying or sleeping, what do you like?

I love to go horseback riding. I like getting outside and doing things. I like to shop. I'm obsessed with clothes. I like Charlotte Russo and Forever 21.

Your best trip?

Before I went to JMU I had never been on a plane. At first I was freaked out, but now I love flying. Last year going to Cancun was the best.

Your pregame song?

Rihanna's "Take care"

Who do you like to watch play the game?

In high school, I loved Diana Taurasi. I like watching Kobe play, too, and of course, LeBron.

Your favorite web page?

Thanks for liking us!
I'm obsessed with LadySwish (thanks, Nikki!). Other than that, I'm usually looking up shopping stuff.

Your app of choice?

I'm addicted to Temple Run. I had to delete it off my phone.

High score?

Not that great. Something like 500,000.

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