A Serge Of Energy Has Arrived At ASU

His name may be difficult to pronounce and the journey that brought him from Yaounde to Tempe is spectacular to say the least. But the scouting report on Serge Angounou is rather simple: The Arizona State Sun Devils have landed one of the most athletic and versatile Basketball players to ever set foot in Tempe. The Cameroon native could be one of the pillars of arguably the best team in coach Rob Evans' tenure.

Angounou has only been playing Basketball since the age of 14. His favorite sport up until a few years ago was Soccer (the most popular sport in Cameroon). Nevertheless, he does believe that Soccer helped develop his Basketball skills. "Playing soccer helped me with my footwork, and running. In soccer you run back and forth a lot during a game, so it wasn't hard doing that in Basketball. A lot of things I did in Soccer like jumping helped me too." His exposure to Basketball was limited in his native country. "I didn't play organized basketball in Cameroon." Says the New Mexico Gatorade State player of the year. "It was just pickup games. I did get to watch some NBA games. Michael Jordan was very big. Even if people didn't watch Basketball, they all knew who Michael Jordan was, because everybody was wearing his jersey. I do try to play like him (smile)."

Occasionally Basketball experts and fans marvel at players who against all odds decide to play far from home. The inevitable homesickness and life adjustments can seem like sizeable obstacles, which can be a determent to a young athlete. However, the Sun Devils' incoming freshman was mentally prepared to travel tens of thousands of miles away from his familiar surroundings to fulfill his dream. "I came here when I was 17. I was thinking for a long time that I'd like to see the world, and see new places. I had relatives and friends that went to a school in a different country, and I wanted to do that too. My Mom said it was OK, and that she would give everything she has to help me. She wanted me to get a good education, so I can get a good job and take care of my sister later on. I just plan to stay here for a few years (following his ASU career), and then go back to Cameroon." The ASU swingman hasn't been back home for nearly two years, and in his mind it's all for the right reasons. "It's tough being away from my family and friends. It's hard living so far away from them. I was suppose to go back this summer, but I know if I did it would be harder to leave again to come back. It's good that I'm here so I can go to summer school, and work out with the team."

The ASU coaches didn't have to travel a long distance to discover this gem of a player. Upon coming to the United States, Serge chose to live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His cousin, Giovanni Olomo, was living there with his guardian Vernon Cox, who spent time in Cameroon and is a friend of the family. The first shock Angounou received upon arriving at New Mexico wasn't a cultural one. "When I first got to New Mexico it was cold, and I hate cold! I remember my Mom told me at the airport that I should take some coats, but I told her I was OK. But man, when I got to New Mexico I was sorry I didn't listen to her (smile). I like hot weather, but Arizona is too hot. But that's OK, it keeps you in shape (smile)." Luckily for Rio Grande high school and its coach Ron Garcia, Cox's home was in their district. Angounou's uncle (who also lives in Albuquerque) asked the coach to give his nephew a try out. Angounou, who only started playing Hoops three years before his arrival in the U.S., blew Garcia away. The lack of experience and quality competition didn't hurt this versatile Basketball phenom. Case in point, he averaged 22 points, 14 rebounds, 5.2 blocks, 4.2 steals and 2.8 assists per game. His aggressive and relentless style on both ends of the court, inspired teammates as much as it frustrated opponents. Like his hero Michael Jordan, he did show up for the big games. In the state's semi-final 1-point loss to Hobbs HS, he had 43 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 11-16 from the field, and a perfect 18-18 from the free throw line. Following the conclusion of his career at Rio Grande, many in the state were anointing Angounou one of the best high school players of all times, and comparing him to former New Mexico high school Basketball legends A.J. Bramlett and Kenny Thomas.

Many schools outside the southwest region didn't notice the Fox Sports Top 100 national player. "ASU was one of the first schools to recruit me my junior year." Recalls Angounou. "Arizona, New Mexico and New Mexico State were other schools looking at me. I met with coach Evans and coach Benford. I was like wow I'm gonna play College Basketball (smile). They made such a good impression on me, that I told my coach that I wasn't interested in the other schools. I wanted to go to Arizona State. Schools were talking me all the time, asking me to come for visits. But I just knew where I wanted to go. That's why I signed early. I'm happy to play in a good conference like the Pac-10."

Angounou signed roughly around the same time that the Sun Devils tipped-off the 2001-02 season. What was his perspective on the trying season the maroon and gold had? "I did get to see some of ASU games on TV when I was in high school. I know that they had a tough year, but I could tell that it was a good team. I was happy to know that I'll play on a talented team, and I wanted to help them out." Rob Evans' squad will not only welcome Serge's outstanding athleticism, but also his versatility. The Rio Grande graduate sees him self as jack of all trades on the hardwood: "I do a lot of things well on offense and defense. I shoot well from the outside, but if they guard me closely I like to go to the basket. I also rebound well and block shots. I think that my offense and defense are at the same level. But everything starts on defense. If you play good defense, then your game on offense will be good too." In our conversation Angounou talked a lot about his attentiveness and unselfishness that are integral to his game. "I play very focused and concentrate on the game. That helps me play well, and shoot free throws. I know that if ASU made more free throws they would win more games. That's why I'm here – to help them out (smile)…When I'm the court, I don't pay attention to what the other team is saying to me. I just think about the game, and how to win it…Small forward is my favorite position. I like to see people get open so I can pass them the ball. If they're not open, I just shoot the ball."

Serge along with fellow 2002 recruits Ike Diogu and Allen Morill have been here for several weeks attending summer school, and working out with their new teammates. His stay in Tempe has been an enjoyable experience for him. "I've been here since May, and I like it here a lot. School is going well now. I'm taking one class and I'm enjoying it. I'm looking forward to my French classes (Serge is fluent in many languages, including French)…I like living in my dorm (Sonora) but it's too far from the arena. I can't wait until the fall when we'll live in a closer dorm...Playing pickup games with the guys is fun. We have a lot of talent." During the summer pickup games the ASU swingman has been real impressed with Diogu, who is virtually guaranteed a starting spot in the Devils lineup. When asked about his playing time prospects this season, Angounou keeps an open mind. "I'll play anywhere the coach tells me. If I play hard everyday, then maybe I'll start. If the coach wants me to come off the bench that's fine. I played a lot in high school, and I know that maybe I won't play a much at ASU. I'm just gonna be ready all the time." Angounou has reached high school Basketball stardom is a very short time. Nonetheless, you will never hear him take his good fortune for granted. "I told Ike the other day that I can't believe that I came all the way from Cameroon to play in the Pac-10. I feel very blessed. I just want to play well for my team and family."

Serge Angounou's Basketball accomplishments so far are nothing short than remarkable. It boggles the mind even more to be reminded that he has played this game competitively for only two years, and probably hasn't come close to fully realizing his potential. He has masterfully balanced focus and maturity beyond his years, along with a constant display of energy. Many predict that this season the Sun Devils will feature their most athletic and talented team in years. If that prophecy comes true, it will be in large thanks to players such as Angounou. His story is a made for Hollywood movie, and a happy ending to this tale can translate into the beginning of a new and successful era for the maroon and gold Hoops team.


Serge Angounou

High School

Rio Grande HS, Albuquerque, NM


Swingman (played all 5 positions in high school)





Date of Birth



Yaounde, Cameroon


SAS (stands for his full name Solomon Angounou Serge)

Favorite TV Show


Favorite Movie


Favorite Singer


Favorite Food

Chicken and Spanish rice

Favorite Drink


Favorite Athlete

Michael Jordan

Favorite Pro Team

Phoenix Suns

Person you most admire

I admire everyone in my family the same.

First Basketball Memory

My friends told me skip school, and come with them to play Basketball. But I study hard now, and I don't skip school anymore (smile).

One Thing most people don't know about me

I know Karate and Tae Kwon Do. It helps me to stay focus, and not get easily mad.

Why did you choose ASU?

Coach Evans. I'm a religious person, and coach Evans is a spiritual man.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

If I don't go to the NBA, I'd like to be working in architecture or communications.

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