By Kris Rhim
At 6-foot-seven, 215-pounds, senior point guard Cade Cunningham pioneers the No.1 team in the country, Montverde Academy. The Oklahoma State signee went 2-0 at the Birthplace this weekend finishing with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists in a win over No.7 IMG Academy and 18 points and 6 assists in a blowout win over Maceacheron. The No. 2 recruit in the country, per ESPN’s 2020 high school recruiting rankings, sat down with The Student to talk about his decision to turn vegetarian, his pregame music and much more.
How long have you been playing sports?
“Since I was about four. I had a ball in my hand since I was little, but really playing sports since I was four. I think soccer was my first sport; I was tough as a kid because I was really athletic, people got better than me so I quit.”
What have you and the guys been up to since you’ve been in Springfield?
“We’ve been kind of locked in, resting, getting treatment, watching film, just trying to stay ready for the games. It’s snowing outside, so we really chilling. “
Who is your favorite player in the NBA?
“Probably LeBron, KD, or Luka. I kind of model my game after Luka and Bron a little bit. KD I’ve talked to a couple of times and I really like his approach to things.”
What’s the most exciting game you have ever played in?
“Gold medal game in Greece. Being in a different country, playing for the U.S., playing with Scott (Barnes) and everybody. It was a fun game and winning a gold medal is great.”
What’s been the lowest point for your basketball career?
“Probably last year losing at Geico (National Championships). It was definitely a learning experience. I wouldn’t say it’s a low point, but feeling that loss is something I never want to feel again.”
Who has the best swag on the team?
“Scott (Barnes) got like designer and everything, so he’s a designer dude. Ryan (Nembhard) he’s just color coordinated, he got all that going for him, depends what you looking for.”
Who is the funniest on the team?
“We got a bunch of clowns. Scott’s the most wild, Ron the most childish, Langston’s the weird one. We all got different personalities, it’s fun, they’re fun to be around.”
What’s the hardest class you are taking right now?
“English. That was the last credit I needed.”
We read that you are Vegan, is that true?
“Vegetarian right now, but I was vegan for a while. Going into (being vegan) I was wondering why everybody was vegan, you know? I started looking into it — and it kind of made sense — so I tried it for a little bit. That was right before the Atlantic EYBL session where I was playing my best basketball, so I was like man I’m never stopping, went the whole summer vegan. Then I went back to Montverde and there wasn’t enough food choices to be vegan, so I just became a vegetarian.”
What’s it like traveling across the country to play in tournaments when you have school? How hard is it for you to keep your grades up?
“(Traveling) has been hard for us. Everybody on the team had good grades coming in from their old schools, everybody’s kind of focused already, so it hasn’t been tough (keeping our grades high).”
What’s your favorite thing to do off the court?
“Probably listening to music. If you ask anybody, my music playlist is A1! Elite! I was listening to Splurge, he‘s from my hometown, so I was listening to him. I really like to chill though, so I was listening to Rod Wave, just some chill music.”
In ten years where will you be?
“I see myself as one of those guys. I’m trying to be a max contract guy, All-Star, one of the top guys in the league and I think that’s something I shoot for every day. Every day I try to ask myself — you know — I don’t think I’m good enough to be an All-Star right now. So that means there is still a lot of room for improvement, so just keeping all the outside noise mute and just working on my game. I’m trying to be the best player in the world.”
Photo Courtesy of Danny Priest