Jon Teitel recently interviewed UNC-Wilmington senior forward Keith Rendleman, who is currently among the CAA leaders in both rebounds and steals per game. The Seahawks travel to Davidson on Saturday for one of their biggest tests of the year, as Keith continues his attempt to average a double-double in back-to-back seasons:
You were born in England, how did you first get into basketball, and would you consider playing for England in the 2016 Olympics?
It was something that I picked up in kindergarten. I played in a rec league where my dad was one of the coaches. I just started playing every year and liked it more and more. I would love to play for England in the Olympics: that would be a lot of fun. I would not mind returning and playing for them at all.
You are 6’8” but have a 7’ wingspan and a 42” vertical leap, how much of an advantage does your athleticism give you on the court?
It is definitely an advantage because I can jump well and out-rebound other forwards. It helps with my post moves and getting the ball up easier. There is no question that it has been a big help in my college career.
How do you like playing for Coach Buzz Peterson, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him?
I really like playing for Coach Peterson. He knows basketball because he has been around the game for so long. He is a player’s coach who will work with you as much as you want. He does a lot of teaching throughout the season. The most important thing I have learned from him is to never give up: even if you are down in a game, keep playing and do not look at the scoreboard. He is a guy who never gives up and that is how I want to play.
As a sophomore you led the CAA with 58.2 FG%, what is your secret for being a good shooter?
There is no big secret really. I just take the shots that are given to me and try not to force too many shots. The thing that helps my field goal percentage is just being around the basket. I try to hit those and take open jumpers when the opportunity presents itself.
You averaged a double-double last season (15.3 PPG/10 RPG) and were named 1st-team All-Conference, did you feel like you were 1 of the best players in the country?
Yes: I feel like I can be one of the best players. Not too many people can average a double-double. Even though I do not rank among the national leaders in scoring/rebounding, I can compete with some of the best players in the country.
Last summer you decided to return to school despite the fact that the your team is banned from postseason play this March. How close did you come to leaving, and what are your goals for this season knowing that you cannot play in the NCAA tourney?
I was considering my options for about a week or so, but after sitting down and discussing it with my family I just decided to finish what I started. Like any other player, my goal is to win a regular season conference championship. I would also like to bring home a Player-of-the-Year award to our school once again.
You have increased your scoring during each of your 4 seasons: how have you been able to improve every single year?
I worked hard in the offseason to get stronger. I also worked on my moves both in the post and out on the wing. This team needs me to step up, so confidence was important as well. I have to be an offensive threat for us in games.
You are currently 2nd on your team in both steals and blocks. How are you able to balance your offense with your defense?
Everything starts on defense: you get stops that can lead to easy baskets on offense. I try to have an all-around game and do as much as I can. I think I have a pretty good balance to my game.
You currently rank 2nd in school history in rebounding. What is your secret for rebounding, and do you think you can break the school record?
My athleticism and long wingspan definitely help me with rebounding. It is important to have a knack for the ball and know where the ball is going to come off the rim. If I keep averaging around 11-12 rebounds per game, then I think I can break the record: I am definitely going for it.
Do you want to play professional basketball after you graduate, and if so, where would you like to go?
I would love to play anywhere in the NBA if drafted. One of my main goals has always been to play in the NBA, but I would not mind going overseas to play in Italy, Spain, or even England. I would just like to keep playing after college.