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Freshman Jay Estime came to the Port City to start his basketball career with Coach C.B. McGrath. (Photo: JR Quitman/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Jay Estime is the very first recruit to sign and play for UNCW under Coach C.B. McGrath. While some shy away from new coaches, Estime knew it was the perfect fit for him.

“With him being a new coach and it being his first experience, I wanted it to be my first experience too,” Estime said. “We’d go on the journey together. UNCW is a great place. It’s a great school and it’s a great environment for me.”

Part of that great environment is thanks to his teammates including another player from Georgia like Estime, Devontae Cacok.

Cacok also helped sell him to joining this team and Estime feels with this group he can contribute.

“I talked to him before hand and he told me this is a good place to be,” Estime said. “I think I can definitely contribute towards this team defensively and offensively. I can shoot the ball and guard bigger players.”

Estime isn’t one to shy away from guarding the bigger players. But when you tangle with the big guys, you learn this isn’t the high school game anymore.

“Players are bigger, stronger and faster,” Estime said. “So just getting used to that being the average is the biggest transition.”

That transition will come with time, something he hasn’t had a lot of at this point just three games into his career. But Estime say to help with the transition the work needs to get done in practice.

“I think practice is the best experience for me,” Estime said. “I like playing with the guys, we compete. Jaylen Fornes is definitely my biggest challenge in practice. Practices are tough. Everyone knows there is a slim chance. They’re going for theirs and we’re competing every day.”

That mindset comes from their head coach as well as knowing that this is a talented group that has had a lot of success as of late.

At a young age, some freshman can shy away from the added pressure of being on a two-time defending conference champion team like UNCW, but Estime embraces it.

“It’s definitely something to strive for,” Estime said. “I think there’s a little bit of pressure but without pressure you don’t have anything to strive for. I think it’s pretty good.”

Off the court, Estime is just like many other players. He goes to school, spends time with his friends like fellow freshman Jeffrey Gary. But there’s something about Estime that he says not many people know.

“People say I look like Jimmy Butler and it’s ironic because he’s my favorite player,” Estime said. “I think he can shoot a little bit better. But defense, I think I can play defense. Coaches are a little bit tough on me but I think I can play defense.”

While he says he can play defense like Butler, one could only assume he wishes his name was as easy to pronounce. People can’t seem to figure it out.

“It’s countless,” Estime said. “People just can’t seem to figure it out. It’s never the same mispronunciation it’s always different.”

As we mentioned, it’s still very early in his career. But he hopes by the end of it people will know his name.

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