At the start of college, Chicago Bulls' Nwaba rejected Hawaiian life

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, right, stops Chicago Bulls' David Nwaba from getting to the basket during the fourth quarter of Boston's 117-92 win in an NBA basketball game in Boston on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017.

    Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, right, stops Chicago Bulls' David Nwaba from getting to the basket during the fourth quarter of Boston's 117-92 win in an NBA basketball game in Boston on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017.

 
 
Updated 12/27/2017 9:05 PM

With temperatures hitting single digits in Chicago, this seems like a good time to ask Chicago Bulls guard David Nwaba about his decision to bypass college life in Hawaii.

With few offers coming out of high school, the Santa Monica, California, native spent his freshman year at Hawaii-Pacific, a small, private Division II school located in downtown Honolulu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's Hawaii. You're at the beach, but the beach all the time, it kind of just dies on you," Nwaba said. "For a vacation, it's cool. To live there, I don't know. It's not for me. It was downtown, so downtown areas aren't always the cleanest."

Nwaba said what really turned him off was the chance to watch a couple of University of Hawaii games.

"I just felt like I knew I could play with those guys," he said. "Going into Hawaii-Pacific, low recruited, my confidence just wasn't there. Over the time, I built confidence in myself and I felt that I could do better than Division II basketball."

Nwaba said there were plenty of upperclassmen on the team at the time, so he chose to redshirt as a freshman and never played for Hawaii-Pacific. After that one season, he went back home, played for a year at Santa Monica Junior College and then transferred to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

Division I basketball wasn't necessarily great for Nwaba, either. As a senior, he was limited to honorable mention All-Big West, but two seasons later, he's a regular in the NBA.

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Bulls pick up pace:

Over the previous 10 games, while the Bulls went 8-2, they rank third in the league in pace, at an average of 101.6 possessions per 48 minutes, according to nba.com.

Before the winning streak began Dec. 7, the Bulls ranked 23rd in pace at 98.3.

"We stressed it. We talked about it every day," coach Fred Hoiberg said before Wednesday's game. "We put drills in to really stress getting out fast, even on made baskets, to get the ball out of the net quickly and get it up the floor and try to score before the defense gets set. We've done a good job with turning that around.

"I give our guys a lot of credit for buying into what we want to teach them. Kris Dunn has been phenomenal. David (Nwaba) has really helped. Anytime you have a guy like that who can get it off the board and push down the floor, there's just not a lot of guys like that in the league."

Tale of two Knicks:

New York has two former Bulls on the roster.

Joakim Noah was inactive Wednesday, just as he was when the Knicks visited the United Center on Dec. 8. Noah has played in just four games this season.

Doug McDermott, meanwhile, received his first start as a member of the Knicks. New York had been using Lance Thomas to replace the injured Tim Hardaway Jr.

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