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On the morning after Prince Fielder wins the Home Run Derby at Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in Kansas City, we run into another Prince and ask this one, Prince Amukamara, for a quick game of N-Sider Take Five. We know Prince has no idea what we’re talking about, so we explain how simple it is. We ask five quick questions, and he can answer them as quickly as possible. The clock, after all, is ticking louder, and the second-year pro from Nebraska will leave July 24 for training camp, so he can solidify his starting cornerback spot for the 2012 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Q1: Do you know who won last night’s Home Run Derby and were you able to identify with him?
A1: “Yes, I know who won it … Prince Fielder! I was pulling for him to win because he has a magical name, that’s for sure … just like Prince William, who’s married to Kate Middleton.”
Q2: Since you just brought up marriage, I have to ask: Did you make it to Roy Helu Jr.’s wedding on Memorial Day weekend, and if you did, how was it?
A2: “I did, and it was a beautiful wedding and a great way for everyone to reconnect. It was almost like a reunion. It was so nice to return and see a great godly woman marry a great godly man and share their happiness and their vows for eternity. It was kind of a traditional wedding, but included a wedding Haka Dance that celebrated Roy’s Polynesian heritage. It was a great event. I enjoyed seeing Matt Penland (Husker letterman who served as team chaplain when Prince played). I had to hustle that Saturday, though. I was an usher in Roy and Dani’s wedding in Omaha and then drove back to Lincoln, so I could make the reception for Austin Cassidy’s wedding. The entire day was one of great celebration.”
Q3: Who do you work out with and hang out with when you’re in Lincoln training at your favorite facility?
A3: “Eric (Hagg), Roy (Helu Jr.), B.K. (Brandon Kinnie), (Larry) Asante, Alfonzo (Dennard), Terrence (Moore), Curenski (Gilleylen) and whoever else comes into the weight room. We’ve all taken the journey together, and we’ve all learned how you can get better and better every day and not give up, no matter what’s in front of you. We learn from the ups and downs we go through every season. Look at Curenski. He’s still going all out. I think he’ll make it at Green Bay. If he doesn’t, I think he’ll land somewhere else.”
Q4: There’s a big difference between college football and pro football in almost every way. In your rookie season, you played on a team that finished 9-7 in the regular season, then caught fire and won the Super Bowl. Does an experience like that convince you that an expanded college football playoff would be a good thing?
A4: “For sure. I think a playoff would be great for college football. The four-team playoff will be good, but I would favor more teams having the chance to win a national championship, even if they lose more than one game. It was the greatest thing in the world to go through what we did last season and catch fire at just the right time to win the Super Bowl. My opinion is very biased, but there’s so much pressure to win every game in college football that when you lose, you almost feel like you’re out of the running (for the national title). I think there’s too much pressure on younger players.”
Q5: This is a triple-barrel question because I added another question after the interview started and just thought of another. How do you follow your alma mater during the regular season and how do you think the Huskers will do this fall? And finally, as a prince with Nigerian roots, what do you think of a Husker helping Nigeria qualify for its first Olympic basketball tournament?
A5: “Oh my gosh.When you can’t be at Memorial Stadium, you want to be with someone who cares about Nebraska football as much as you do. I ended up going to an Irish pub (the Irish Rogue) to watch the Wisconsin and Ohio State games last year. I met some great fans there and had a great time watching the Ohio State game with them. That was so much fun seeing Coach Bo beat his alma mater in the greatest comeback in school history. I think every year, we get a little better because the players get better and the coaches get better. Now that we’ve had a year in the Big Ten, I think we’ll be more confident and even more prepared. I really do think we can make that Big Ten Championship game this year and if we can, you never know what can happen next. N-Sider note: Amukamara was unaware that Nigeria’s basketball team had qualified for the Summer Olympics in London, but he was genuinely thrilled, having met Husker Ade Dagunduro. “I remember him,” Prince said. “His brother (Ola Dagunduro) played football here. That’s exciting and gives us another Husker to root for in the Olympics.”
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