Family and Future Lead Sibande to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – Senior switch Nike Sibande grew to become a father September 5, 2019 with the beginning of his daughter, Oaklynn. He was immediately remodeled as she instantly grew to become a driving pressure in his life.
“The beginning of my daughter has had a big impact on me,” mentioned Sibande. “It modified my complete life and moved me into an entire completely different route. It has made me extra mature, actually compelled me to suppose additional than myself and about one other particular person’s life. It positively has had a big impact on me and my household and was a consider deciding to switch to Pitt. Once I opened up my recruitment, I had to have a look at an entire different particular person’s life and the way can she be secure? How can I put her in a scenario to be secure and never simply have a look at it for myself?
Sibande noticed large alternative at Pitt whereas evaluating his switch choices that included faculties corresponding to Alabama, Arkansas, Georgetown, Georgia and Xavier.
The chance to play for head coach Jeff Capel, the chance to check his on court docket talents in one of many high conferences, the chance to proceed his schooling however most significantly the chance to develop off the court docket and supply for his household.
Sibande arrives at Pitt with a powerful resume, scoring 1,493 factors and making 186 three-point subject targets in three seasons at Miami [Ohio]. The Indianapolis, Ind., native is averaging 15.1 factors and 5.1 rebounds per sport over 97 profession contests (95 begins). He has scored in double figures 76 occasions, together with 22 video games with 20 or extra factors scored. A pure scorer and high-level athlete, Sibande fills a right away want for a Pitt program that averaged 65.2 factors per sport and shot below 30 % from three-point vary a yr in the past.
One among seven newcomers, together with Delaware switch Ithiel Horton who might be eligible this season, Sibande has an opportunity to do rather more than rating the basketball for the Panthers. Together with his expertise, versatility and athleticism he’s poised to be a pacesetter, a veteran voice and an affect participant on each ends of the ground.
“Being in faculty for a few years I really feel like I could be a voice,” mentioned Sibande. “We now have some younger guys and I really feel like I can assist them out and make the sport simpler for them. I carry that mentality and the sport to again it up. I defend. I can rating in numerous methods and do rather a lot by placing folks in numerous positions. I’m making an attempt to do the whole lot and work on my sport to get higher each day.”
Working laborious and creating his sport is one thing that Sibande is acquainted with. A self-proclaimed scholar of the sport, his path to Division I basketball did not actually materialize till late in his highschool profession.
Regardless of not enjoying on the varsity basketball staff till his junior season, Sibande developed right into a highschool standout and Division I prospect at Crispus Attucks Excessive College in Indianapolis. He capped off a scholastic profession by averaging factors and seven.2 rebounds and main the Tigers to a 25-Four document and the category 3A state championship as a senior. An honorable point out all-state choice, Sibande was under-recruited by Energy 5 groups and regarded going to prep college earlier than in the end electing to attend Miami [Ohio] and play for fellow Crispus Assaults alum Jack Owens.
“I used to be positively a late bloomer,” mentioned Sibande. “I began blowing up my senior yr and that is when issues sort of took off for me and once I began getting presents. That have has made me extra aggressive, hungrier, and makes me need to know the sport extra as a result of the alternatives have not all the time come simple. Getting my shot makes me hungry, makes me need to study extra, be a sponge, and soak up all the knowledge and try to use it to my benefit.”
Arriving in Oxford with a chip on his shoulder, Sibande delivered one of many high freshman seasons in program historical past, averaging 15.1 factors and 4.three rebounds per sport. He scored in double figures 28 occasions, together with 10 video games with 20 or extra factors scored, and knocked down 77 three-point subject targets, third-most in Redhawk historical past, en path to being named MAC Freshman of the Yr and incomes All-MAC Freshman Crew and honorable point out All-MAC honors.
As a sophomore, Sibande continued to excel, averaging 16.1 factors and 5.1 rebounds per sport with 76 three-point subject targets, whereas incomes Third Crew All-MAC honors. He topped the 20-point mark 9 occasions and have become the primary sophomore in program historical past to high the 1,000-point plateau.
Following the season, Sibande declared for the NBA Draft and spent two months exploring skilled alternatives, together with exercises with the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder earlier than electing to return to Miami [Ohio] for his junior yr.
“It was enjoyable taking in info from [Boston Head Coach] Brad Stevens,” mentioned Sibande. “Listening to him inform me I could be there [in the NBA] someday and giving me hope and telling me issues I can work on. It was wonderful, a superb course of for certain. The one piece of recommendation that actually caught with me was to be constant in the whole lot that you just do.”    
Sibande used the suggestions offered by the NBA exercise expertise to change his fashion of play going into his junior season.
He put extra of a deal with counting on his teammates, sacrificing scoring and shot makes an attempt in favor of elevated offensive effectivity and scoring stability all through the staff. Nonetheless, Sibande averaged 13.9 factors per sport and established profession highs in rebounds (5.9 rpg.), assists (54), subject objective proportion (.440) and free throw proportion (.820).  
“Going by the draft analysis taught me to be extra aggressive,” mentioned Sibande. “It made me need to assault extra as a substitute of settling for jumpers. Early in my profession, I shot extra from the perimeter as a substitute of placing strain on the protection by attacking. Once I got here again to highschool, I noticed I’m extra athletic than numerous guys and I can use my velocity to my benefit. Going by that course of, listening to folks I actually needed to be round with my complete life and goals, let you know that makes you need to study extra about it and get into it.”
His high efficiency got here in what can be his ultimate sport as a Redhawk when Sibande scored 31 factors on 10-of-14 taking pictures from the sector and 9-of-10 from the foul line in an 85-79 win over Buffalo within the opening spherical of the MAC Event, simply days earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2019-20 faculty basketball season.
Now, when Sibande just isn’t within the health club engaged on his sport or watching youngsters’s films and laughing along with his daughter (her favourite is Moana), he’s watching video games and breaking down the play of a few of his favourite gamers like Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum, Zach LaVine and Donovan Mitchell. He sees past the highlights to acknowledge the tempo, the stability and the boldness it takes to excel towards the best degree of competitors.
Throughout a time of chaos and uncertainty throughout when a lot of the world was at a standstill, Sibande created his personal alternatives. For him, for his daughter and for Pitt Basketball.
“I adore it right here. It’s a actual good vibe, a secure place to be and I really feel actually related with the coaches,” mentioned Sibande. “We now have had an awesome relationship and nice vibe from the beginning. I really feel like I’m a superb match for this staff. We now have numerous good instruments to work with and we have now numerous completely different items to place in positions to do various things. I count on massive issues from this staff as a result of we’re a gifted younger group and we have now dudes that like to work, and I like that. Guys who go to the health club and keep energetic.”

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