Q&A with @CanesWBB Transfer Neydja Petithomme
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Neydja Petithomme joined the University of Miami women’s basketball team at the 2015-16 semester break as a transfer from Auburn University.
A 5-foot-8-inch guard from Boca Raton, Fla., Petithomme sat down with HurricaneSports.com to talk about what her time as a Hurricane has been like so far and more . . .
Q: You’ve been at Miami for several months now. What has the experience been like for you thus far?
A: I’m really enjoying the experience. I love the atmosphere, the team and they players. They really helped me feel welcome, [like this is my] home, and I’m starting to feel really comfortable and I love the coaches. So, I’m really excited.
Q: What has been the best part of your time at Miami so far?
A: Honestly, I think the best part is the girls. We all go out to dinner and we all go see a movie. Just that team camaraderie, I love that the most.
Q: How excited are you to finally get back on the court and play basketball when the first semester ends?
A: I am so excited. I’m actually counting down the days. So, I’m just one day closer to actually being on the floor and just playing again.
Q: How nice is it to be back closer to home, being from Boca Raton?
A: It’s actually really good because I’m a family person, so I love my family. From here to Auburn is about an 11- or 12-hour drive, so my entire freshman year, my parents came up and saw me maybe once or twice . . . Being about 45 minutes to an hour away from home now, I get to see them almost every other weekend.
Q: When you first got here, was there anyone on the team who kind of took you under their wings a little bit and helped you transition and get acclimated?
A: Definitely. I think KP [Khaila Prather] was the one who really helped me. Being able to relate to someone, the lingo and everything, [is very helpful]. So, I can definitely relate to her when we talk with one another. So, I got really comfortable with her very quickly.
Q: What are you majoring in and how did you decide on it?
A: I’m majoring in broadcast journalism because I grew up with the capability of speaking in front of people. It’s okay [for me], I’m able to speak in front of a large crowd. I don’t tend to get nervous. And I watch the news almost every day. I’m really like a political junkie, so I’m always up to date with the latest news of what is going on around the world. I kind of put one and two together and said, ‘Okay, this is what I want to do.’
Q: Is there anything in particular that you’re working on the most to get ready for the season?
A: Probably the biggest thing I’m working on is the off-the-dribble jump shot because I know in this system, there are a lot of screens set and a lot of off-the-dribble jump shots. So, that’s definitely the one thing that I’m really focusing on right now.
Q: Are there any players whom you look up to and try to emulate?
A: Absolutely. The one player I emulate day in and day out is JT [Jessica Thomas]. She’s a point guard and I’m a point guard. Her game has so much finesse. And, of course, she is a senior so I’m trying to be a sponge and take in as much as I can before she leaves because she’s definitely is an impact player on the team. So, I definitely want to fill in her shoes when she leaves.
Q: Are there any professional players you look up to?
A: On a professional level I would say I look up to Chris Paul because he’s a point guard, too. The one thing I like about him is he sticks to his style and his game. He doesn’t try to change it. He doesn’t try to be too fancy or anything. He is just [about] being a point guard. He passes, he dribbles, he can make shots and he is a team player at the end of the day. A lot of players try to emulate certain things in a game that don’t really fit, but he’s just himself.
Q: When you look back on it, what made you decide Miami was where you wanted to transfer to continue your college career?
A: Looking back on it, the reason I chose the University of Miami is, first off, it’s a beautiful campus. Secondly, I chose it because, academically, it is such a prestigious school. It [is in] a great conference for women’s basketball and it just gives me the opportunity to be coached by a great coaching staff.