Name: Ejike Obinna
School: Virginia Academy (Virginia)
AAU: Uncommon Bulls
Coming into Virginia Academy, Ejike Obinna was practically unheard of in recruiting circles. The bulk of the reason is because he had just moved over from Enugu, Nigeria. The other reason was because he had one year of basketball experience.
Ejike, a big soccer player growing up, decided to take on American basketball in 2013, when he moved to Virginia Academy. The 6’10” forward came in looking to develop his game and found the perfect environment to do it in, “The quick pace of game caught me by surprise, but thanks to the staff I got adjusted quickly. I remember when I couldn’t bounce the ball my first year.” He laughed. “Coach Antwaan Randel El, Coach Duvall Simmonds, and the rest of the staff worked with me tirelessly and I saw tremendous improvement. They have been like family to me.”
Last year, the improvements started to grab attention from high major programs, “He has worked so hard since he’s been here. Repetition is huge so he spends hours in the gym every day. It is starting to produce interest from schools like Georgia Tech, Xavier, and Penn State.” Coach Simmonds told me.
He is still gradually learning the game through ball handling, post play and agility training. Coach Duvall also said the challenging schedules of Virginia Academy and Uncommon Bulls have pushed him to succeed against strong talent. Lately, his shot blocking, rebounding and progressing scoring ability has drawn coaches to the gym on a daily basis.
When asked what he is looking forward to in the future he noted, “I hope this year I can start to extend my game beyond the post. I want to score a little from the outside and keep working on my dribbling… I have trust in my coaches to turn me into a great player.”
Ejike will get to showcase his talents this summer on the AAU circuit, as well as at Hoop Group Elite’s first session on July 7th. Look for more schools to jump at the opportunity to recruit the rising star.