Interview with Choctaw’s Nadia Fingall

December 1, 2015
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Choctaw’s Fingall Earns Tourney MVP, Athlete of the Week Honor

Recognition is nothing new for Nadia Fingall.

In fact, winning any tournament or weekly award is probably just an appetizer — or dessert — to two consecutive All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year awards or Division I scholarship offers or district championships.

Yet, being the MVP of Choctaw’s Thanksgiving tournament brings a two-fer for her collection. Fingall, the Indians’ senior who committed to Stanford two weeks ago, is the Athlete of the Week.

Choctaw defeated Niceville in Wednesday’s tournament championships, and Fingall’s double-double efforts propelled the Indians to another victory in their own holiday event.

What does your Twitter handle, “35-degrees Nad,” stand for?

“It was just for the Fort Walton Beach rivalry week. There is a thing where if you roast someone, you turn your hand a certain way at a 35-degree angle. So it was a thing with my friends and I. It was sort of a dumb thing but it was also cool. I’ll be changing it soon.”

You worked out on a Sunday, when most athletes are resting. How long are your workouts and do you prefer working out alone or with teammates or a trainer?

“On the weekends, we try going as long as possible. Maybe two or three hours, as long as my dad wants. Two or three hours is the range on weekends. I invite my team. We just started inviting some of the boys down. Jessie came down a couple times and some Navarre people came down, too.”

Since you committed to Stanford, are you now a huge Stanford football fan? What was your reaction to last night’s thrilling win against Notre Dame?

“That game was pretty amazing. I didn’t know they’d be able to pull it off. I didn’t think they’d call a touchdown, but that’s beside the point. I didn’t think they’d win but I was running around the house.”

Should Stanford make the college football playoff if it wins the Pac 12 Championship game?

“They have two losses this season. One was to an unranked team and one was to Oregon. I think the top four they have at this point will probably stay the way it is.”

What other schools were you considering along with Stanford?

My top five ended up being Stanford, Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida State and Florida. That’s in no particular order.”

Say you’re playing a game of “HORSE” and both you and your opponent are one letter from losing. What is your go-to shot to win?

“A bank shot from the right elbow. … (The bank shot) is an art.”

What is your favorite thing to do when not playing basketball or training?

“Probably reading. I’m a nerd.”

You are 6 feet, 3 inches. You’d probably be a pretty good wide receiver in flag football. Have you ever considered, like other area basketball players, playing the new sport for Okaloosa County schools?

“I wanted to last year but it ran into club basketball season and now it will run into my preparations for college so it never worked out.”

You’re a talented basketball player, and it’d be tough for anyone to find a weakness with your game. However, that probably wasn’t the case your entire basketball-playing days. What did you have to work on the most?

“Ball handling and just overall confidence just handling the ball. I was trained primarily to be a post player so working on ball handling and my outside game was the next step in my development. It is something I had to work on really hard.”

What came naturally? What was the easiest basketball skill for you?

“I wasn’t really athletic when I was a kid. I was more of a nerd so nothing about it really came easy.”

What accomplishment do you take the most pride in?

“Getting the (Daily News) All-Area Player of the Year two straight years was pretty cool.”

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