Wednesday, November 13, 2019

CSO Q and A: Nebraska graduate transfer guard Haanif Cheatham

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of CSO’s Q and A as I sit down with college coaches and players across college sports for in-depth questions sprinkled with a little bit of fun. The latest edition focuses on Nebraska graduate transfer guard Haanif Cheatham.

Green: You have had multiple stops in your college career, which started at Marquette, then to Florida Gulf Coast last season and now Nebraska. Are there any similarities with the different types of offenses in your collegiate career?

Cheatham: Every basketball coach has the same philosophy in terms of wanting you to execute, but being here at Nebraska, you learn how smart coach Fred Hoiberg is and he tries to pick your mind, but wants you to get better. The past two schools I have been at have been great and can’t complain about it at all.

Green: What are the differences in environments comparing being in an urban city like Milwaukee at Marquette to being in a rural city like Lincoln at Nebraska?

Cheatham: Lincoln is an amazing spot to be and I can’t complain at it. While Milwaukee has an NBA team and a raucous college fan base, Lincoln has a great fan base and will only get better as the season progresses.

Green: Family is important to you, so how was it to be back in the state of Florida last season to play at Florida Gulf Coast?

Cheatham: It was great, although I did not expect to get injured, but it is what it is. I thank god for the journey that I am on and being able to be close to my parents and family for a season, while recovering from surgery was great. I am blessed to be where I am at right now in my collegiate career.

Green: As one of 14 newcomers this season for Nebraska, how did the overseas trip to Italy this past summer help in terms of building team chemistry?

Cheatham: It helped a lot, especially given that off-court chemistry really means a lot to on-court situations. Being around each other every day overseas helped us become better individuals and were able to get four quality games under our belt there. 

Green: From a non-basketball perspective, what were some of the highlights from Italy?

Cheatham: Experiencing a different culture. The way we live in America and the way they live in Italy is totally different. We were able to get out of our comfort zone by eating new food, see different people and enjoy the scenery of Italy. 

Green: In your short time on campus in Lincoln, is there a quality go-to spot for food?

Cheatham: I am a sushi guy, so I have been going to a spot downtown called Blue Sushi Sake Grill. I am a fan of the place and am up for trying new things. I also asked not too long ago on Twitter about some other places and have gotten a ton of responses, so I plan on trying some different spots out as the season goes along.

Green: Most athletes work out to music and I was wondering what your go-to song is on the playlist?

Cheatham: I listen to Drake a lot. My go-to album from Drake is Scorpion, but I like Nonstop as my favorite song during a workout or before a game. 

Green: During Nebraska’s annual opening night in September, rapper Rick Ross performed at Pinnacle Bank Arena, what was it like to have someone who has sold millions of records around the world to perform feet away from you?

Cheatham: With me being a South Florida guy and Ross too, it was a major deal. As soon as he came out and started performing his songs, I knew almost every one of them. We were on stage with him, but after everything, we were ready to get back to work.

Green: Pinnacle Bank Arena sold out of all its home tickets in the off-season, does the atmosphere remind you of when you played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Marquette?

Cheatham: PBA is no joke, especially when the fans came to sell out opening night. It shows how much the fans care and that gives us a reason for us to go out and play them, so we have to go out and play hard for 40 minutes.