Ekene Ibekwe Interview & Profile

With the junior class of 2003 so rich in talent, one of my goals at the Adidas Big Time was to scout and talk with some likely Stanford targets in that class. Ekene Ibekwe is right at the top of that list of forwards, with his long frame and exceptional abilities. He says he's getting attention from Stanford, but another Pac-10 school is really pouring it on...

Ekene Ibekwe - PF/SF
6'9" 185# (est)
Carson, CA (Carson HS)
Rising junior - Class of 2003

(Interview during the 2001 Las Vegas Big Time)

TheBootleg.com: How do you think you've been playing here in Vegas?
Ekene Ibekwe: Alright. I'm normally a "3," not normally a post. But they have me playing the post here, and I'm playing good.

TheBootleg.com: What coaches have been watching you here?
Ekene Ibekwe: USC, North Carolina, Stanford, (Arizona) Wildcats - I've seen a lot. It's a big tournament. Every college coach is here.

TheBootleg.com: In looking at those schools and others, have you discerned yet who has the most interest in you, and whom you have the most interest in?
Ekene Ibekwe: USC is interested in me - they're really interested in me. It's close to home, and would be a good college for me. My whole family could see me play, which they couldn't if I go out of state. But I wouldn't mind going out of state, though. As long as it's a good school.

TheBootleg.com: Would you say that USC is your leader right now?
Ekene Ibekwe: Probably so.

TheBootleg.com: If you had to name a top five right now, who would you put up there?
Ekene Ibekwe: North Carolina - just because of the colors, you know? They have the same colors as my school. I love those colors. Vince Carter and everybody - I love that school. So North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona and UCLA of course.

TheBootleg.com: You had mentioned Stanford earlier - how are you looking at them?
Ekene Ibekwe: They send me letters. They're recruiting both me and my brother.

TheBootleg.com: Is this recruiting process something you and your brother talk about, or are you going about it separately?
Ekene Ibekwe: We talk about it - yeah.

TheBootleg.com: Are there any lessons you've been learning watching the recruitig process for your brother?
Ekene Ibekwe: Yeah, I've learned that you can't open every letter. (laughs) I've learned that you have to take your time, work on your strategy for how to look at schools. People who care about you - you should talk to. They can help you make a college decision.

TheBootleg.com: What are your most important factors you're using in this decision?
Ekene Ibekwe: The area where the school is. I don't want to go to school somewhere next to nothing. I'm a city kid, you know? The area and academics.

TheBootleg.com: Speaking of academics, would you mind sharing what your grades and scores have been like so far?
Ekene Ibekwe: I took the SAT in June but don't have the score yet. My GPA is a 3.3 so far. On my PSAT, I got a 1300.

TheBootleg.com: Is there anybody you haven't heard from you would like to hear from?
Ekene Ibekwe: Duke.

TheBootleg.com: Do you have any idea about the timeframe? Do you want to decide early or late?
Ekene Ibekwe: Late. I'll take my time with this.

TheBootleg.com: Anything else you're thinking about that will be important in your decision process?
Ekene Ibekwe: I just want a good college, and have my parents be proud of me.

TheBootleg.com: Do you parents have any ties or leanings from your parents?
Ekene Ibekwe: My dad went to USC. He'd like me to go there - stay close to home with USC or UCLA. Maybe stay home, but it's my decision.

TheBootleg.com: And your mom?
Ekene Ibekwe: She says it's my decision, too. What I want to do.

Very different frame from his older brother, Onye. He's very long, like a Darius Miles minus a couple inches. He has a good handle, and a nimbleness in the paint that together yields a lot of highlight reel plays. He loves to play along the baseline, and won't back away from defenders. Great instincts and touch around the basket, though his range is a weakness. Still, I wouldn't begin to hold that against him at this point in his development, especially given his overall athleticism and burgeoning talent. He clearly has the grades to play anywhere (including the Farm), and the talent that is already drawing blanket attention on the West Coast and far-reaching national interest from top programs. Anybody and everybody would love to have this young man for what he can do now, and how much more he'll be able to do in the next few years.

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