Emmanuel Negedu: ``I'm Open"

Emmanuel Negedu really isn't all that concerned with the recruiting process right now. All you have to do is look at the journey that native of Nigeria took just to get to Brewster Academy to find out why.

Emmanuel Negedu was in the midst of a 12-hour bus ride from his hometown of Kaduna to Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, en route to Brewster Academy (N.H.) when all of the sudden he heard noises. It was the sound of gun shots from robbers along the road.

``They were shooting at our vehicle," Negedu said. "One of the guys on the bus got shot in the leg. I was so scared I was shaking. The driver kept going, but they ended up shooting one of our tires so we had to stop at the next village."

When the bus stopped, Negedu ran into the bushes in an effort to hide among the darkness. Negedu ended up taking a taxi to Lagos the next day and finally arrived at Brewster Academy a couple days after leaving his family.

``It was the worst day of my life," he said. "It was crazy. I thought I was going to die."

Negedu is not only alive, but he's making the most of his opportunity at Brewster.

Brewster coach Jason Smith was recently driving in the center of Wolfeboro, N.H., when he caught Negedu out of the corner of his eye dunking on an outdoor court.

The interesting part of the scene was that at least 30 kids were lined up on the court to watch.

``A lot of the kids come to our games and saw me play and when I walked by, they stopped playing," Negedu said. "I love kids, so it was fun for me. I felt like I was in the NBA or something."

``Emmanuel was just having a good time goofing around," Smith said. "People just seem to gravitate to him around here."

Negedu's understanding of the English language isn't the only thing that has improved significantly since he arrived nearly two years ago. Now he's able to do more than just run and jump.

``He's a freak athlete who plays a lot bigger than his size," Brewster coach Jason Smith said. "His overall skill level has really improved and I thought he had a pretty good summer, albeit playing in the 16-and-under level."

Negedu just returned from a three-week vacation of sorts back home to Kaduna. The hardest part was saying goodbye to his family – again.

``My family was crying," he said. "But this has been a great decision for me to come to Brewster and I'm happy I made it. I wouldn't change anything. I know it would be nice to be with my family, but I know I'll have to be away from them at some point, anyway, and my family needs me to help them."

When Negedu first arrived, he was 6-foot-5 and just shy of 200 pounds. Now, after hitting the weights for the first time in his life, he's 6-7 and has added 25 pounds entering his junior season.

A recent story which said that Iowa is his leader isn't accurate, according to Negedu. In fact, he's still early in the recruiting process. Smith said that Arizona head coach Lute Olson and Iowa State head man Greg McDermott will both be in the Brewster gym on Saturday – the first day that college coaches are allowed out in the fall.

Illinois, Indiana, Miami and Iowa State are also in the mix.

``I've still got two years left and I've got time to make my decision," Negedu said. "I don't have a leader right now. I'm open."

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