Bigger Than Ball Vol. 5: Aidan Igiehon

Aidan Igiehon is a top ranked basketball player whose aggression and footwork around the basket have colleges from all over the country lining up to see him play.  What’s even more impressive than his ability on the court is the unique journey he has taken to play basketball in the United States.  Igiehon is an Irish citizen, living and going to school in New York.  He’s also one of the most humble kids we have gotten the chance to interview so far.  Here’s our in depth Q & A with the number 55 ranked junior, Aidan Igiehon.  

 

You don’t typically see many kids from Ireland playing ball in the States, how’d you end up coming over to play?

 

It’s funny, I didn’t actually come over here to play ball.  I came over here with my local team called Dublin Lions, they play ball, and I went to this Sixers camp – Philadelphia 76ers.  I was 13, 6’5” – yeah, I was like tall and skinny…and then I was athletic and could dunk the ball.  They were like “yo he’s 13?”, and then a lot of high schools came to see me.  No one really helped me get over here.  I just traveled with my team.  I went from Philly to New York to visit my family, and then stayed a couple months; and then I was playing in the park with my Aunt – my Aunt’s daughter’s Coach is best friends with Dana. He set up a workout, and I’ve been with them ever since.  Never thought about playing with anyone else.  

How was it playing on the EYBL circuit? You were relatively unknown before  you started playing AAU basketball, how did that help your recruiting?

 

On the circuit that’s when I really blew up.  The first session…it was the game against Bol Bol and Shareef [O’Neal] – people were like…like didn’t know who I was at the time.  They were just focused on Shareef.  “theres a kid dunking crazy”, it was me – I was just cocking it back, like ahh!  I had 18 points with like seven dunks and a couple free throws.  After that game my phone started blowing up – they started calling me.  Then I got my first ACC offer.  Syracuse.  After I got that offer, a lot of schools started contacting me.  I was too excited.  Dana was telling me to relax.  I guess he expected it, but I didn’t…Syracuse was like my fourth or fifth, and from then on I had like 20 something.  

 

Who has been the best person you’ve played against so far?

 

Marvin Bagley. Gotta be – and second that Bol Bol.  Bol Bol might be better actually, I don’t know.  He’s nice…underrated.   Only thing is, he’s 7’3” but he hates to play around the rim.  He plays from the free throw line and up.  It’s easier for me to guard big men rather than guards so that made it tough.

 

Which NBA player do you think you play like?

A mixture…I wanna say a mix with Deandre Jordan…and with Anthony Davis.  Yeah – mix that – take a little skill off AD.  My aggression and how hard I dunk the ball is like him.  I am actually very skilled, but many people don’t know that.  All they see is the dunks.  I can finish with both hands and start the break.  It’s tough to show that sometimes because showcase games usually show the guards.  Nobody really knows my name like that so that’s why I’m trying to use this July period to get known.

 

Soccer is the main sport played in Ireland,  and you seem to have great footwork for a player your age – Did you play when you were younger?

 

Yeah, I actually started off playing soccer.  I started playing ball when I was 12, but before that yeah – it was only soccer.  So, I played center midfield – I started off playing right back, and right defensive mid.  I wasn’t thinking about playing in college honestly, I didn’t even know about college athletics when I was younger.

 

Do you still play?

 

I still play soccer for fun, like with my older brother.  He’s 20.  He’s playing semi-pro right now upstate.  He plays in college, but he’s going to be a pro…It’d be cool for me to be able to play for the same school as my brother…I still work out like a soccer player.  When I’m training I do a lot of ladder stuff.  With Dana [Dingle-New York Lightning AAU coach], we start with a couple sprints then some high knees and then other footwork. As you get really tall, really quickly you get kinda slow.

What was the biggest adjustment basketball-wise when coming over from Ireland?

 

The speed of the game, the physicality of the game, and how serious everyone is about it.  In Ireland it’s just fun and games.  Like people here, they work out like one in the morning – I’m used to like, training with a team. That’s how we do it. That’s why the development has been different for me.  I was probably one of the best players in the country back then.  For my age.  There were some good players though.  Now looking back it was kinda like, eh.  There was one guard though, Matt Drummond.  He was good.  I had to wait a couple months before I could play when I came here, just the speed of everything…they threw me into the fire though.

 

Biggest non-basketball adjustment?

 

So basically, I’m in New York so I’m in the city.  In Brooklyn.  So, how there are mad trains and mad buses, and how you don’t use cars to get anywhere…and just the speed of life. It was a big change.  I lived in a very nice estate in Ireland, that you had to drive everywhere. Everywhere’s kinda far…hilly – quiet.  Ireland’s nice, the weather’s just horrendous.  Sometimes you can have all four seasons in a day.  Freezing, then warm, then it gets kinda hot and it’ll rain.

 

You’ve been living in New York for a few years now, do you ever get homesick?

 

Oh yeah.  All the time.  I’ve got a ton of friends and even now, a ton of people follow me like “yo you’re my inspiration”…I actually have to go back and run a camp – I have to give a speech and everything.  A ton of people are going to be there. [laughing] I’m looking at them like, yo I’m just a regular kid – I don’t look at it like how they look at it.  I look at it like I’m just playing ball you know…

What are you planning on saying in your speech?

 

Basically…first thing they’re gonna ask me is if I can dunk.  After that there just gonna ask me questions about my life.  “How can we get there?” They all want to come over, but unfortunately they can’t all come, but who am I to say they can’t.  So I’m going to let them know they have to work hard, and try and tell them how I much work out – and how you have to stay focused on academics. That plays a huge part.  Because I have good academics my recruitment is great.  I have a 3.7 – because of that my recruitment took off.

 

You have well over 20 Division I scholarship offers now, which gives you the opportunity to pick a school that really fits you.  What are you looking for out of the programs that are recruiting you?

 

I want to be somewhere where I can play right away.  My goal honestly is to be a pro.  I’m going to try man.  I just started playing ball..like I’m working hard, so I think I have a chance.  That’s why I work out so much – I’m just trying to work on my skills.  I’m really gonna try.

 

What do you think you need to work on to become a more complete player, and hopefully reach your goal of playing professionally?

 

I think I need to work on outside shooting. ‘Cause i’m athletic enough to play the three, I think if I could spread the floor more I could really be good.  I do a lot of ball handling in workouts, because that’s the goal.  I’m trying to make the NBA.  Obviously still think the academics, so I can play anywhere in the country – and I really have to extend my game. Do the repetition so much so that when it comes game time it just comes naturally.  I’m going to work hard, so that once I get to college, I really can cement myself as one of the best bigs in the country.

Undiscovered Vol. 3: Elite Session 1

The 2017 Hoop Group Elite camps are shaping up to have some of the most talented crops of
players we’ve seen in recent years. Kids are coming into camp with legit interest from high/mid
major Division One programs and are bound to upgrade that interest into tangible scholarship
offers.
Some guys are different though. Some guys have been patiently waiting. With not as much
college interest as deserved, they have been preparing for the moment when they get a chance
to perform in front of the coaches that need to see them. These players will wait no longer. In
the shadows until now, these Undiscovered players will impress when they get a chance to
perform in front of the coaches that need to see them.
Elite Session 1 will feature many, here is a glimpse at just a few as they move from
undiscovered to on your radar.

John Kelly – Fairfield Prep (CT)

John Kelly is a player all coaches are looking for. A lanky 6’7 that can score on all three levels
 and can guard multiple positions on the defensive end with his length and lateral
movement. It’s rare to see John making poor decisions with the ball in his hands as his
basketball IQ is extremely high. Look for John to really show out at camp this week

Luke Hicks – Cushing Academy (MA)

Luke Hicks is a well-built, 6’5 swingman that can light it up from anywhere on the floor. As lethal
as they come when shooting the ball, you can not leave him open on the perimeter. Going to do
a prep year at Cushing Academy in the winter, Hicks is a name that coaches will gladly put on
their list.

Emmanuel Umoffia – Score Academy (FL)

A legit 7’2, Emmanuel Umoffia is a force down low. Protecting the rim at a high level with a
developing post game on the offensive end, high major schools are starting to take notice. After
a dominating spring performance, he has the chance to carry over that momentum into a HUGE
summer.

Maurice Commander – Curie Metro (IL)

Maurice Commander’s last name isn’t a coincidence. When he is on the floor, he commands the
flow of the offense and ultimately the flow of the game. A true point guard with an extremely
smooth lefty stroke can make shots at a high rate off the catch and off the dribble. Not only can
he put the ball in the hoop, but he does a great job getting his teammates involved. With only a
couple of Division One offers on the table right now, Maurice is a player every high academic
program needs to take a look at.

Beau Smith – Trinity Pawling (NY)

Beau Smith is a 6’6, athletic combo guard that can really guard on the perimeter and get up and
down the floor.A capable shot maker too, he is a threat whenever the ball is in his hands.
Schools will be all over Beau after getting a glimpse of what he can do on the court at Elite 1
this week.

Adrian Nelson –  Pickerington Central (OH)

Adrian Nelson is a dark horse of 2017’s Elite 1 session. With a few low major offers on the table,
Nelson will catch the eye of everyone in the gym this week with his high flying dunks in traffic.
Check back soon for the next edition of Undiscovered!

Academic Elite Session II LIVE Blog

10514592_724985670899300_1584455349202318150_n While Academic Elite I was so good we didn’t want it to end, the bright spot was we had session II to look forward to. Well here we are; Academic Elite Session II has begun and as always, we will be keeping you updated with events the entire week. Be sure to stay with us for social media updates, photos, videos and more as we #BeElite this week!

July 18th: Day 4

2:45 pm

After the awards ceremony concluded, players headed to the Ivy League, Patriot League, and NESCAC All-Star games in the rec center. Dakpe Yiljep and Jordan Bonner have already made their mark in the Ivy League game. The latter of the two is red hot from the left corner – he’s drained two from that spot and another jumper as well.

1:26 pm One of the championship games just concluded here at the center court of Albright College. George Walker, of Washington, DC,  was one of the top performers in the game. The 6-foot-4 guard hustled for every loose ball and snagged a plethora of rebounds on both ends of the court.

The Bollman center packed with fans for the championship games.

The Bollman center packed with fans for the championship games.

1:00 pm People are filing into the Bollman Center to catch a look at the talent in these two championship games. Both contests are currently separated by just five points each. Expect both of them to come down to the wire. –@TheHoopGroup

12:28 pm Central Catholic guard Sean Whalen has been solid here in the semifinals. His calmness with the ball in traffic leads to converging defenses, which allows him to find the open man. Despite being down double digits, Whalen is doing his best to help his team claw back into the game. –@TheHoopGroup

11:55 am We’re well into the playoffs here at Albright College and a few players have already made strong impressions.

 

 

11:13 am Despite being 6-foot-3, Jeremy Werden isn’t afraid to mix it up with the big men down low. The Chapel Hill guard gets set up in the post and uses phenomenal footwork to get an easy shot. His versatility has been huge for his team to start the playoffs. –@TheHoopGroup

10:36 am As expected, championship Friday is already filled with excitement. On the center court, two teams found themselves tied after regulation, and the playoff game was sent into overtime. A crowd began to form around the highly contested matchup and they were not disappointed. A few steals and tough finishes at the rim highlighted an intense overtime period. –@TheHoopGroup

10:03 am Century guard Kevin Steadman showing his vast knowledge of the game here at Albright College. The 6-foot-1 guard moves great without the ball, making use of back screens and casual defenders in order to find open looks at the rim.

9:36 am Be sure to vote on today’s #BeElite poll.

9:33 am Here at Albright College, stations have concluded, and games are set to begin. It’s championship Friday! We can already feel the intensity in the air. –@TheHoopGroup

8:42 am On the final day of Academic Elite II, over 120 campers decided to #BeElite and attend early bird workouts. Players are now at stations, working to refine certain skills.

July 17th: Day 3

10:47 pm Day three of Academic Elite Session II was capped off with another thrilling overtime contest. Throughout the day, coaches and players raised the intensity level to new heights as college coaches stood by evaluating. Campers also honed their skills during a clinic from 4x national coach of the year Kevin Boyle. If you missed any of today’s coverage, check our InstagramFacebook, and Twitter profiles.

10:07 pm The night is concluding with another close game here at Albright College. D’Vonne Trumbo (Oakdale, CT) is facilitating great ball movement, but also ultra quick when attacking the basket. The game is headed to overtime after a last second attempt is waived off. –@TheHoopGroup

9:25 pm Utica native Joe Sullivan is proving to be the heart and soul of his team at the moment. At 6-foot-4, he crashes the glass with the ferocity of a 7-footer. Sullivan’s impressive efforts have created multiple scoring opportunities for teammates. –@TheHoopGroup

8:45 pm Point guard Nile Godfrey (West Orange, NJ) possesses pin point precision on his passes and is always looking for teammates. He also pushes it transition and has a nice touch around the rim.

8:20 pm Hoop Group sat down with Holy Cross commit Jehyve Floyd to talk about Academic Elite Session II, his commitment, and more. 7:55 pm Nathaniel Johnson (Scotch Plains, NJ) has the rare ability to read the defense well when coming around a pick.  With the ball handling skills to penetrate the lane and a nice jumper to accompany, it’s pick your poison with Johnson. When a defender recently went underneath the screen, the 6-foot guard immediately recognized it and stepped out for an open three. –@TheHoopGroup

7:36 pm Archbishop Molloy G/F Evan Georgio is doing all the dirty work inside the paint. Grabbing offensive rebounds and altering shots, he has created multiple second chance opportunities for his teammates. Another example of a selfless player here at Academic Elite Camp.

7:03 pm A couple more players have impressed us during the slate of night games. Aaron Geschwilm (Parkton, MD) is a master at taking advantage of smaller match-ups. Despite being 6-foot-6, he displayed a nice array of post moves down low. On the other end, he’s a solid shot blocker.

5:19 pm Holy Cross commit Jehyve Flloyd (Sayreville, NJ) putting on quite a show at the moment. The 6-foot-7 forward is a high energy player on defense and has forced multiple turnovers in the back court. He’s also a great passer when working in the post.

4:06 pm The clinic from coach Kevin Boyle is over, and games have resumed. Players are already putting the techniques and skills to use. Brandon Anderson has been one player sticking out. The 6-foot point guard is calm with the ball and is great on the dribble drive.

1:37 pm After an exciting morning full of games, campers have just finished up lunch here at Albright College. Shortly, four time national coach of the year Kevin Boyle will give players a lecture. Boyle has coached numerous NBA stars, including current Cleveland Cavaliers point guard and two-time all star Kyrie Irving.

12:38 pm Kevin Blaser, of IMG Academy, is currently impressing spectators and coaches. The 6-foot-4 guard shoots well from anywhere on the court. He also uses his size and strength to dominate once he penetrates the lane.

11:39 am Teams need a go-to scorer. At Academic Elite Camp, one of those guys is John Kirincic. The Cleveland, OH guard scored seven points in the final minute of the third quarter, including a three pointer with under 10 second left.

10:50 am Niall Carpenter, a 6-foot-1 guard from the Hun School, is putting on a show right now. The New Jersey native is aggressively attacking the rim and pulling off acrobatic moves to convert shots. His team has an early five point lead early in the game.

9:59 am Games are underway here at Albright College. It is the first full day of the new live period and coaches are looking for talent. Teammates are developing better chemistry, and the level of play has been taken to another level.

9:02 am Players are working to refine their skills at stations. Here, they’re working on their jab step and getting to the rim. 8:27 am Over 150 Academic Elite II players decided to #BeElite and attend early bird workouts this morning. Players received instruction from coach Josh King.

July 16th: Day 2

10:15 pm The night games are concluding here at Albright College. Academic Elite II campers but on quite an impressive performance for college coaches. With a full slate of games tomorrow, players and coaches will be back at it. If you missed any of today’s action, check our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter profiles. We look forward to bringing you more coverage tomorrow.

9:42 pm David Haytaian Jr.  of Hopewell Valley Central HS is doing a great job finding his teammates. Once he finds space in the lane, the 5-foot-10 guard is immediately looking to find the open man. Unselfish play definitely on display here at Academic Elite II. –@TheHoopGroup

8:47 pm As seen in the low scoring first halves, campers have really stepped the defensive intensity. Our veteran coaches are contributing to this as well; we’ve seen plenty of squads put on the full court press. –@TheHoopGroup

7:52 pm Love the intensity from Hunter Buescher. The Alamo Heights HS guard is an absolute workhorse. At only 5-foot-10, he forced two consecutive turnovers and is always the first one up and down the court. –@TheHoopGroup

7:16 pm Campers are back from dinner and the evening games are underway. With D-I coaches now in the gym, the intensity is higher than ever. Expect more diving for loose balls and hustle plays as player look to impress potential suitors. –@TheHoopGroup

6:18 pm Dolan Mahoney, a 6-foot-1 guard from IMG Academy, is showcasing his vast array of skills at the moment. He possesses a good feel for the game is smart with the ball. Combine that with his strong blow-by moves and you have a talented basketball player.

6:03 pm A few guards, including one from outside the United States, have impressed us during the set of evening games.

2:57 pm An important part of Academic Elite is the stress put on the academic side of being recruited. After all, these players are STUDENT-athletes. Right now players are going through academic stations, in which they learn what coaches look for in terms of grades and school when they recruit a player as well as what credits a high school student must have to be able to play in college. Academic Elite teaches you about on and off the court recruiting.-@JN_Albano

2:16 pm With a brief break from games, lets take a look at some campers who impressed us this morning.

 

 

1:40 pm After a great slate of morning games and then some delicious lunch, campers are headed to Memorial Chapel for Academic Stations. While our basketball stations work on developing on the court skills, these stations, similarly, help “separate yourself” in the recruiting process. –@TheHoopGroup

2:54 pm It’s great hearing the Bollman Center (Albright College) filled with chatter. Communication is key to playing great team basketball, and campers are already developing chemistry. With teammates talking, we’ve seen quite a few eloquent passes and beautifully run sets. –@TheHoopGroup

11:59 am At 6-foot-7, Patrick Ehland plays much bigger than his size indicates. The Mt Lebanon forward has a great set of post moves and passes well for a big man. His contributions led his team to an eight point win. –@TheHoopGroup

11:17 am Games are now in full swing here at Albright College, and they all have been very intense. One game featured a three point buzzer beater to send the contest into overtime; it finally ended after two overtime periods. Expect that excitement to continue the rest of the day.

10:57 am First set of games and some guys have impressed on their new teams.

 

10:46 am Despite being down early in the game, Brandon Parker (Somers, NY) persisted until the end. His combination of scoring and defensive intensity kept his team within three points. His teammate then tied the game with a three point shot at the buzzer.

10:00 am Stations have just concluded here at Albright College. Campers gained valuable knowledge at each court before moving onto the next station. Now the games are finally set to begin. This camp is stacked with talent so expect a high level of play.

9:04 am Here’s our #BeElite Poll of the Day. Which would you rather watch? Click the image and share your thoughts with us!

8:20 am Nearly half of all players at Academic Elite Session II attended early bird workouts at the rec center this morning. Campers were instructed on shooting, footwork, and more from coach Josh King. These players put in work to #BeElite, and it will pay off as their basketball careers continue.

July 15th: DAY 1

10:46 pm Coach Hopla’s speech and shooting performance concluded day one here at Hoop Group Academic Elite Session II. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s slate of exciting games.

9:21 pm Shooting coach Dave Hopla is now putting on a clinic for campers. He can’t miss! 8:24 pm Prior to an appearance from a guest speaker, campers are headed to courts for Show and Go. 7:26 pm Academic Elite II campers showing no mercy on the rims. Expect that to continue all week.

6:51 pm Dinner is over and campers continue to play in their scrimmages. Few more games left before everyone returns to Bollman. It may almost be 7 pm, but we still have a lot planned for the night, including a special guest lecture.-@TheHoopGroup

6:00 pm On day one, there is always one camper who shows he can flat out shoot the rock. That camper might just be Kevin McCormick

5:16 pm Lot of athleticism shown early by guys.

4:35 pm Hoop Group continues to attract talent from not only all over the country, but from all over the world! This week’s camp has players from the Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany, and Ireland – just to name a few.

4:00 pm Campers and coaches have been waiting anxiously all day, and now games have officially begun here at Albright College. The plethora of talent is already very apparent.

3:54 pm Campers met their teams and coaches and we’re ready to scrimmage!

3:38 pm Head shots are now on Facebook! Find and tag yourself!

3:03 pm If you didn’t know, Hoop Group summer tournaments start this week! Summer Classic East tips tomorrow in King of Prussia, PA and Summer Jam Fest starts Friday in Manheim. Stay tuned for updates from those 2 events as they take place later on this week.

2:36 pm The wait is over. After a long registration period, we are finally underway as Camp Director, Matt Pooley welcomes the campers to Reading and introduces the coaching staff for the week.

1:31 pm It’s almost time…

 

12:56 pm Hoop Group is back on YouTube! Check out our channel for mix tapes, camp and tournament wrap ups, interviews and more! http://www.youtube.com/user/HoopGroupBBall

12:24 pm Head shots….the first time campers get to put on their jerseys! 12:02 pm In case you missed session one, here’s were the award winners….who will #BeElite and earn an award this week?! http://hoopgroup.com/elite-blog/academic-elite-session-one-awards/

11:14 am Lines are forming for registration…and we continue to get more and more excited! 10:39 am Don’t forget to vote for our #BeElite Twitter Poll of the Day. Everyday we ask you a question and want you to chime in. Click the image below and let us know your thoughts! Which rookie would you rather have on your team?

10:14 am Always an exciting day when you wake up and know a session of Elite Camp starts today. Registration has begun and players are making their way into the Bollman Center to start what is guaranteed to be a great week of camp. Stay tuned for more updates. –@TheHoopGroup

#BeElite Poll of the Day-July 16

Here is today’s question: which kind of basketball would you rather watch? College or NBA? Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but we want to hear from you! Click the image and let us know your thoughts.

#BeElite Poll of the Day

Everyday we ask you who a question on Twitter using the hashtag #BeElite. We ask. Your answer. Here’s today’s question:

Click the image above and let us know which rookie you’d rather have on your team!