Final Four media-day questions on- and way off-target

Updated: April 2, 2006, 8:02 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- This wasn't the media's best day.

It might have been one of the better days for Florida sophomore Joakim Noah and UCLA freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

The two, easily the most charismatic and colorful players left in the Final Four, handled a variety of questions that were on and way off topic during Sunday's media session.

The questions thrown at Mbah a Moute bordered on ignorant. Still, Mbah a Moute, a prince in his village of Bafia, in Cameroon, handled the questions with class, dignity and humor.

Here is a sampling:

He was asked about his diet, which includes a type of snake.

So, it was natural to jokingly follow up (at least by this reporter) by asking, "How do you cook it?"

"Like chicken," Mbah a Moute said.

How does it taste?

"Better than chicken."

That was some of the tame stuff.

Mbah a Moute was asked what Americans should know about America. He laughed off this one.

Here's a humorous one: "In San Diego, you were talking to your fiancÚ about getting married ...

"Excuse me? I have a fiancÚ? I don't know about that," Mbah a Moute said.

There's more:

"Luc, I don't know if you ever saw a comedy called 'Coming to America' about an African prince that came here. Did you ever see that?"

Mbah a Moute said he did -- twice -- and does get ribbed about it. He added, "As far as the movie being true, I don't know. I don't think it was filmed in my country."

Mbah a Moute said he has Yannick Noah's music in his iPod but hasn't met Joakim Noah.

He discussed the tough transition of leaving his family in Cameroon three years ago to come to the United States to attend prep school. He talked about only playing basketball for five years, not seeing his family since arriving at UCLA last summer, and how he plans to return to Cameroon to live.

Want another one?

"Did you ever feel like the 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air'?"

No response.

Another gem:

"I did a book report when I was 12 on Cameroon. Could you please describe Yaounde [Cameroon], your part of the town and your house and what it looks like?"

Mbah a Moute said, "To me, it's just like Orlando. There are a lot of houses, a beautiful city. Where I live, it's a nice neighborhood. We have houses. We don't have huts like they show on TV."

Mbah a Moute laughed and took a bit of a serious tone, but for the most part had a smile on his face. He had to, dealing with some off-the-wall, Super Bowl-caliber media-day questions at the Final Four.

Noah didn't get as many wild queries, but still handled a range of issues as well as any college sophomore. He responded in French when a foreign correspondent spoke in his native tongue. But Noah was eloquent when asked about his father, Yannick, and the sacrifices he made in leaving Cameroon for Paris because of tennis. He discussed being a tennis star's son, his devotion to his heritage -- his family is from Cameroon and Sweden -- and his respect and gratitude for all that the late Arthur Ashe did for his father's career.

He mentioned how much he cherished playing in the Rucker League in Harlem last summer, and how that enabled him to develop his swagger. He received the nickname, "The Noble One."

Here at the Final Four on Sunday, Mbah a Moute and Noah were noble and dignified. On this day, they were a lot older than their ages, showing their maturity and ability to handle some odd questions that would have left others a bit perturbed.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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