Interview with Former Duke Great Alaa Abdelnaby
This past Saturday, I interviewed former Duke great Alaa Abdelnaby (4 year Duke standout and 25th overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft). He was more than kind and gracious in taking time out of his day to answer my questions. I would just like to thank him once again for doing this and here it is! My interview:
What was it like when Coach K first recruited you?
Life-changing! I take a lot of pride in choosing Duke back then. Nowadays, it's an easy chic pick. Back then, they were not that good, therefore it was a leap of faith. One that I am very proud of taking!
Why did you wind up choosing Duke?
Basically, because Coach K talked to me like my dad.
Looking back, what would you say was your best memory from your 4 years at Duke?
Winning a lot of big games!
What was your greatest memory of the Duke-UNC rivalry?
Beating Carolina three times in one year my sophomore year!
What was it like going to the Final Four for 3 consecutive years?
Final fours were big games!! It's what you dreamt about as a kid! Playing in those big games!
What was it like to win an ACC title? We Duke fans have been spoiled with their recent success, but as a player, what were your emotions like?
Winning the ACC was a lot of fun! Being able to play in those kind of games was a huge honor. I'll remember them forever!
How did Duke and Coach K get you ready for the NBA?
He made me a better player! One example, is the ability to play man-to-man defense. Back then that's all that was played in the NBA.
Duke is generally known as a “guard” school who doesn’t develop big men well. What are your thoughts on that statement and how did they help you develop into a very good big man?
Duke is a guard school now! So is the rest of college! Very few big's out there now, but back in the day, there were plenty of bigs that wore a Duke uniform.
What was your time like in the NBA and playing professionally overseas?
The ability to continue doing your dream was the best part! Getting paid to do it was even better! I enjoyed my time in America as well as oversees both of them were equally rewarding.
On a different note, what did you major in at Duke?
I majored in political science. That's why I occasionally will tweet something about politics. Even though,I haven't learned my lesson yet. I get beat up on Twitter a lot!
What were the classes like at Duke on an academic standard? What were some of your favorite classes?
Read the quote about Duke on my Wikipedia page! It says it all about how difficult Duke was! (It reads: “The only way I can make five A’s is when I sign my name.”)
Poli sci was my favorite!
I had a philosophy class with this professor that was tremendous, also!
What is your favorite memory from Duke that wasn’t on the basketball court?
My favorite Duke moments were with my teammates! Anything we did as a group, turned out to be a blast! That's what I remember most!
What was it like being an assistant coach and being crowned the champion of K Academy this year? What was it like to work with Coach Wojo?
Wojo's the best! Trying to get on his staff next year! Seriously, it was even more fun that week because we won! That week is a lot of fun to begin with. Getting to see all my Duke brothers!
How did Duke and Coach Krzyzewski get you ready for life in the real world, not just basketball?
A lot of the lessons he taught us on the court applied to life. I remember a lot of things now and apply it to my every day life! Stuff still works!
What is your relationship like with Coach K almost 23 years after you played at Duke?
Funny enough, had dinner with him and the team last night in New York City! Always great to spend some time with him and the team! Especially, during the season when he's most busy!