Nia Coffey on postseason aspirations, USA Basketball and sibling rivalries

    Nia Coffey comes in the 24th-ranked recruit in the class of 2013. She was a McDonald's High School All-American and a gold medal winner with USA Basketball at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships. She talked with North by Northwestern about transitioning to college life, both on and off the court.

    How has the transition during freshman year been so far?

    It's been hard but with the help of my teammates and my roommate and coaches, it's been great so far. I've learned a lot and I plan to keep learning, so I'm really excited.

    So the team's chemistry has been good in practice?

    Yes, yes. The first couple weeks, it was a little rough just learning how to play with different people, but now we're coming together and it's looking really good, so I'm really excited.

    What are your goals for the season and what are the team's goals for the season?

    Definitely Big Ten champs and making it to the tournament this year. We have a lot of potential and we're just going to keep building up for that.

    You were in Lithuania this summer for the FIBA World Championships where Team USA won the gold medal and you also played in the McDonalds and WBCA All-American games. How do you think these experiences helped you ease into playing at a high college level?

    I played against some of the best girls in the country, so that really gave me the confidence that since I could play with them, I could, you know, play here and do well, so that gave me a leg up…but just with the experience that some of the girls had and they taught me some of the ropes that just made me more comfortable in my skin as a player.

    What was one of your favorite memories from the summer?

    It was different being in the Canary Islands and Lithuania and just having to play two times a day. It was different. You had to get used to the food and the time differences but it was a good time, a good experience.

    My favorite memory, there are so many. The girls were great, but just the team dinners that we had. Everyone's just sharing their experiences throughout colleges and stuff like that, so that was really great to get to know them.

    You decided to go to Northwestern over Stanford, Duke, Harvard and Princeton. What impacted that decision?

    Definitely the coaching staff and the girls here. They're absolutely amazing. I felt like I was at home, you know, that I could really trust them for the next four years while I'm here, so that was a big factor. It's an amazing school. It's a great location, not too close to home, not too far, so it's just an all-around good fit for me.

    Both of your siblings play basketball. Your sister plays at Marist College and your brother is still in high school but he's one of the top recruits of his class. What was it like growing up in a basketball family?

    So my brother and sister, they played basketball from the start. I didn't start playing until the fourth grade. I actually ran track, so I wanted to, you know, spend more time with them, so that's when I changed to basketball, so we've just been working together ever since and we've been really competitive pushing each other. So I believe that's where we are today.

    So things have been going great so far with the team?

    It's definitely been a transition but it's getting better everyday, so I'm really happy I made this decision.

    What have some of the challenges been for you?

    Time management. That's number one, I think. Just making enough time for basketball, schoolwork, that's number one priority, eating, sleeping. It's been difficult, but, you know, I've been learning as the days go on, but I'm getting better at it everyday.

    What's the one thing you're most excited about this season?

    Just finally being able to wear that uniform and play for Northwestern.


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