That career was short-lived as Dagunduro transferred to Antelope Valley, where he initially set out his first year to work on academics, but came back with a vengeance. For his sophomore year, Dagunduro did nothing less than lead the team in points per game 18.1), total points (654), rebounds per game (8.75), steals per game (2.76) and he even ranked third on the team in blocked shots with 27.
The one thing Adeola realizes, though, all those points, rebounds, assists and steals don't amount to much once he steps on campus at Nebraska. "You are starting over, " He said. "You have obviously something the coaches saw in you to bring you in there, but it's a whole new game. You are playing against bigger, better, faster and more seasoned players. It's something that you have to get used to quickly."
The younger brother of former Husker Ola Dagunduro doesn't have that luxury, as he is a two to play two guys. That means no redshirt, and when he's scheduled to arrive in either summer or August, he knows just what he has to do. "I have to get in there, learn as fast as I can, get to know the guys as well as I can and figure out how I fit in," he said. "There's no more about this being all about me. This is about everything trying to work on the same page."
Much has been made of head coach Doc Sadler and his style of coaching. It's been called abrasive by some and insane by others. While that's going to turn some recruits away, it's one of the things Doc had to offer, aside from everything else, that told him Nebraska would win the day over Penn State, an announcement he will make official today. "He coaches like coaches I had. He's rough, nothing artificial about him and if he's in your face, it's for a reason," he said. "I have heard about his practices, and I tell you what, that's the only way to get guys mentally ready for what they have to do."
It's ironic when you consider that outside of an official visit he took to Nebraska during spring football practice, the only real familiarity he had was when he watched Nebraska get absolutely lambasted by Kansas down in Lawrence, Kansas. Again, that would be more than enough for recruits to look elsewhere, but it was during that loss he found respect for what is now his future team. "They never gave up even once during that whole thing," he said. "They were getting killed, but they fought to the last ball, went after ball and kept trying to score and defend. A coach that can instill that into his players is someone I want to play for, because I know he's going to get the best out of me."
What that best is, is a wing player, who has been spotted at the three-spot, the two-spot and has even played time at the one. Adeola's preference would be to play the two, because that's where his familiarity lies. But that was from high school, and playing in the violence-ridden escapades of blacktop basketball in Los Angeles, where gunshots were sometimes heard from gangbangers who didn't like to lose. That was another valuable lesson he learned: "Let them win," Adeola said of when they were facing opponents they knew were gangbangers. "We had our share of fights after contests where some teams thought they got robbed, but it wasn't many times where gunshots actually rang out. But we knew who they were, and when they came to play, we would play, but we all knew that we were going to let those guys win."
That particular philosophy has changed, as you might expect, the younger Dagunduro looking at doing anything but. He wants to win, and that means against the Kansas Jayhawhaks of the world as well as Texas, Texas A&M and whoever they throw in front of them.
His idea is simple in that if the talent is there, and the desire is almost automatic with Sadler, this time has a chance to do almost anything. "Coach is a great man, and you have to say that he gets everything he can out of his players," he said. "What if he had nothing but NBA stars on this team. What could he do? We're not a bunch of NBA stars, but we all like to think that we have some of what that takes. You now have to prove it on the court."
Adeola's relationship with his brother was an obvious factor in choosing Nebraska, He would hear about how good things were, what the facilities were like and how great the coaching seemed to be. For the younger brother, though, he only wanted to know one thing about the place, and that had to do with the idea that basketball wouldn't be around forever. "I was really interested to know that if basketball isn't around, I get injured or whatever, there are going to be people that who care about my future," Adeola said. "Just because I can't contribute to the team, I didn't want to get pushed aside and forgotten. Ola said that kind of stuff didn't happen at Nebraska. Once you were a Husker, you were always a Husker. I loved that."
Hailing from a high school which fielded the likes of Paul Pierce, Harold Minor and Jason Hart, the pressure was on to be something at least as good as some, but hopefully as good as them all. Pressure is something that this young man said he simply doesn't feel. The pressure comes from the games, not the moments within the moments where he can try and become the game. It's all about the team. That's why when he looks at a suffering Big 12 and what he considered to be slightly overhyped mid-majors, he wants to help bring a little equilibrium back to the table.
"I know that Creighton is the biggest team on the schedule, because I know firsthand that you don't want to lose to your in-state rival," he said. "But this is the Big 12, and where were are supposed to start is where some of these other schools are just trying to be. There's a major standard here, and Nebraska hasn't been part of that. It's up to us to make sure that when people talk about Kansas, Texas or whoever, we are in the same conversation.
The road to that isn't easy, and even now the talent might not be where it should be at to compete with teams who perennially put out first round NBA Draft. Give Sadler time, Dagunduro says, because from what he's gotten to know about man, perfection is the very least of what he'll stand for.
Adeola likes that. It's his motto, so to speak. If you can't set the goals high, don't even set them at all.
"Coming to Nebraska isn't about going to a place I want to be, but a place I want to be part of something that has never been done at Nebraska. They don't win NCAA tournaments and many times they don't even make them. I want people to think of Nebraska as a great school, but that basketball program is something to watch.
"It's excitement and wins I want to help bring and with great guys on the team like Ryan Anderson and Sek, who is from my neck of the woods, I know we have something going on that is special. That's why I chose Nebraska. Penn State is great, but when you talk about a team who has a real emphasis not to just compete, but to win those big games we always seem to lose, coach Sadler has that and demands that from his team. I like that. I want to be part of that. I am ready to help build something special."