RJ Nembhard has proven that he is not one that is content to “shut up and dribble”, and TCU fans should be grateful for that.
The 6’5” shooting guard is the team’s de facto leader as he prepares for his junior campaign in Fort Worth, and he has been honing his craft both on and off the court over the last several months to prepare for the role. One way he demonstrated that leadership was by participating in conversations and protests over the summer, speaking up for equality and against systemic racism — often alongside TCU coaches such as Corey Santee and Jamie Dixon. In an interview with Garrett Podell, Nembhard said “Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions, I had a couple of my White friends ask questions about serious issues, and we had some tough conversations,” Nembhard said, “I know it’s tough in the White community to understand some of the things that have been happening since they haven’t experienced our experiences. The biggest thing is to not judge, ask first to get a better insight. We just want equality, not any wars or vandalism. We want justice to be served, equal rights, and for us to be treated as humans because at the end of the day we are all humans no matter the skin color, race, or height. Change will come with uncomfortable conversations and sitting down to figure out how to live the right way.”
Now, he will be taking those tough conversations on a national level by becoming a member of the first National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player Development Coalition, a diverse collection of Division I men’s basketball student-athletes what will provide valuable perspective and feedback on college basketball issues.
According to a press release, the coalition will be charged with:
Creating a vehicle for student-athletes to address current issues, the Player Development Coalition will also provide members with numerous professional and personal development experiences. The coalition will meet quarterly and have regular opportunities to address the NABC Board of Directors and NCAA committees.
“I am excited to be asked to be a part of the newly-formed NABC Player Development Coalition,” said Nembhard. “I look forward to representing the players in college and the Big 12 as we enter the ever-changing landscape of college basketball.”
Other members of the initial Player Development Coalition are North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, Colorado’s Evan Battey, Kentucky’s Keion Brooks, Jr., Harvard’s Kale Catchings, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, Michigan State’s Joshua Langford, Duke’s Wendell Moore, Jr., Syracuse’s Bourama Sidibe and High Point’s John-Michael Wright.
“Our priority as coaches is to support student-athlete development both on and off the court,” said NABC Executive Director Craig Robinson. “As the NABC continues its advocacy and policy work on issues impacting our game, it’s vital that input from student-athletes be central to those efforts. Whether it’s NIL, transfer parameters, social justice, COVID-19 or a host of other important topics currently impacting college basketball, we will make sure student-athletes’ voices are heard.”
Nembhard is the leading returning scorer for the Horned Frogs, having averaged over 12 points per game last season. He joins junior Kevin Samuel to form a potent 1-2 punch for a team looking to get back into the postseason after a disappointing 2019-2020 campaign.