Robel Hurui of National Christian Academy (MD) is in the class of 2011. The freshman, though, already checks in at 7'1. Hurui doesn't play much for NCA becasue he is rail thin and likely lacks the stamina to play for an extended period of time. Hurui reminds me of current SMU Mustang Bamba Fall when I saw him play as a member of Oak Hill Academy (VA) a few years ago; tall, thin, and lacking stamina. I caught up with the lanky big man at the Southern Jam Fest after his team knocked off D-One Sports (NC) in pool play.
NB: How do you feel that being so tall at such a young age has both helped you and hurt you basketball-wise?
RH: Well, it helped me . . . [because] it’s a big advantage in basketball. . . . It’s hurt me because [Pause] . . . I’m not used to . . . I don’t know.
NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
RH: Probably in the middle, [at] center.
NB: Do you feel more comfortable playing offense or defense?
RH: Really, defense.
NB: Why defense?
RH: Because I’m not that good on offense. . . . I’m still in the process of getting better.
NB: What do you consider to be the weakest point of your game?
RH: [Pause] Offense.
NB: When did you first start playing basketball?
RH: About a year ago, in middle school.
NB: And what led you to choose to start playing then and not earlier, or what led you to choose to start to play in the first place? . . . Why did you pick up the ball and start playing?
RH: Back in my country, . . . I was playing with my friends and . . . I liked it and I just started playing.
NB: And where is that? What country?
RH: Atria, it’s in east Africa.
NB: And when did you come over to America?
RH: In 2000.
NB: Playing at National Christian, with this program, . . . how do you think it helps you to develop your basketball game?
RH: [Pause] It’s a really good school, I like it. . . The coach really helps me a lot, . . . and I’ve gotten a lot better since I started going there.
NB: What do you like most about the game of basketball?
RH: In basketball, [Pause] you got to use all [of] your body, . . . you got to run, and I like that. . . . It’s really challenging.
NB: Have you been receiving any college interest yet?
RH: Oh no, not yet.
NB: Do you have a dream school that you’ve always wanted to go to?
RH: Not really.
NB: [Are] there some goals that you’ve developed for yourself? Whether it be what you want to do in college, . . . what you want to accomplish at the high school level [or at the] AAU [level]?
RH: Well, it’s to be good [at] basketball [and] hopefully play pro [ball] one day.
NB: Do you have a favorite team?
RH: [The] Lakers.
NB: [Who is your] favorite player?
RH: I’d say Kobe [Bryant].
Hurui was correct in his assessment that right now his offensive game is not where it needs to be. I saw part of a couple of NCA's game at the Southern Jam Fest, and in those two, he managed just two points in total, scoring both against D-One Sports. In addition, stamina was evidently a problem for him. The offensive skills will come with time for Hurui, and his stamina will also improve as the years progress. The big man will likely play college ball regardless of how fast that progression comes along, because, as they say, "you can't teach height." Robel Hurui will be a name to keep an eye out for over the next few years.