Sheila Mikailli: You’re originally from Washington and recently transferred to the renowned Montverde in Florida. How’s life out there?
Ahmaad Rorie: It’s going good. I just had to adjust to the time difference, but other than that everything’s good. School and basketball is good.
SM: You played at a couple of high schools out in Washington before you transferred to Moteverde now for your senior year. What made you choose this school?
AR: I felt it was the right time. I didn’t want to go to a prep school too early. I wanted to spend the year right before I went to college in prep school.
SM: Berkeley and Montverde both have pretty high academic standards. Did that play a role in your decision to transfer?
AR: That was actually the main reason. They have the best academics and the best basketball. I was trying to get the best of both worlds, just like I will at Cal.
Academics is important to me because of the way I was raised. My mom always tells me to focus on things other than basketball.
AR: It’s been good. He’s really pushing me to be my best. There’s no slacking off or nothing allowed. You gotta come and do what you do every day.
SM: We last talked when you came out to Cali for your official visit to Cal a couple of months ago, and you just made it official on signing day last week. How was your trip out there?
AR: It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. I thought Berkeley was a boring place because when I went out there on my unofficial it was Spring Break, so there weren’t a lot of people around. This trip was really fun. I got to play with all the players, chatted up with all the coaches, went to a couple parties. It was just a real successful weekend, especially to get away from the dorm life for a couple of days. I got to see my mom, too, so it was probably the best weekend I’ve had so far.
SM: Yeah Berkeley is definitely not a boring place by any means (laughs).
Tell me a little bit about your tattoos. You have 5 of them, right?
AR: Hold up (Long pause as he counts his tattoos). Yeah, I have 5.
My first tattoo is prayer hands with a basketball. I really just like that tattoo a lot because I pray every night before I go to sleep, and I added a basketball because I love to play basketball.
I also got a bible verse underneath it. It’s my favorite bible verse: “I can do all things in Christ which strengthens me”. And then I have a picture of my mom’s face on my forearm, because I love my mom. Let’s see… I got a tiger which is my favorite animal because I feel like it represents strength and courage. And then I got Jesus on the cross on my chest.
SM: Plan to add any tattoos in the near future?
Yeah, I’m going to get a sleeve before I go to Cal. My mom doesn’t want me to get too much though. I probably will finish my chest and get my grandparents faces tatted.
SM: Sounds like you’re really close to your family. Has your mom been your biggest mentor in this process?
AR: Yeah, I’m close to my mom’s side. My mom is a big mentor. My AAU coach is pretty much like my dad, really. I also have an uncle down here who lives about 20 minutes away who helped me make the decision to come down here. And then my trainer up in Tacoma, those four are pretty much my mentors.
SM: Are there any things you want to work on this year before you make that jump to college
AR: I just want to make sure I’m leading my team this year.
SM: Have you had a chance to get to know the guys and mesh with the team a bit?
AR: Yeah, I know all of them from playing AAU. We’re all real cool out here.
Sheila Mikailli joined the Ballers Bridge team as the Director of PR and Marketing in 2013. With a background in college basketball reporting, sports marketing, and events, she also works as a consultant for athletes in brand management, financial literacy and public relations. You can find her tweeting away at your local Starbucks. Follow Sheila on Twitter @SheilaMikailli