Green Farms Academy senior forward Sunday Okeke is about to start just his fourth year of organized basketball, having moved to the United States from Nigeria before his freshman season, where he played soccer much more than basketball.
Okeke committed to play basketball at Wake Forest Tuesday, after visiting the campus and the team Monday.
“I loved the environment and I loved the coaches. They were really nice to me and showed me love,” Okeke said. “I got to meet some of the faculty and some of the professors and found out how the relationships work between the student and the instructors. With the class sizes, I can work directly with the professors and succeed.”
The Deacs have touted team chemistry as a strength this season. Okeke picked up on that vibe, and felt instantly comfortable with the team.
“They were very friendly. I met nearly all the guys and they were so nice to me. It was such a friendly environment,” he said. “The coach and player environment was so great — I look forward to being a part of that.”
Okeke said that soccer was his first love, but upon coaxing from his coach in Nigeria, he starting play basketball as well, mostly playing streetball in pickup games.
He found his way to Green Farms Academy, and has been improving his game under the tutelage of coach Doug Scott.
“My game has improved a lot since my freshman year. I started off averaging 10 points and game and it’s been improving,” Okeke said. “I’ve only been playing basketball for about six years. I knew nothing about the game. I’ve learned a lot from my coaches, and I’m excited to continue to learn under coach Manning.”
At 6-foot-8, rebounding, defense and post moves were first on Okeke’s list to master.
“I’m working on my perimeter game so I can play outside more,” he said about what he hopes to improve in his senior season at Green Farms Academy.
Now in his fourth year in America, Okeke is still working to fully adjust to the move.
“Adapting to situation - the weather, food and culture,” Okeke said about what the most difficult transitions were for him. “It was really difficult to me, but I learned to make friends and adapt to different foods.”
One of his friends? Duke’s Sean Obi, who also immigrated to the United States from Nigeria.
“It will be cool,” Okeke said about the opportunity to play against Obi in the ACC. “I’ve practiced with him a couple of times. It’ll be really cool for me.”
Okeke visited Wake with his foster dad, Michael Litt.
“He loved it also,” Okeke said. “He was amazed.”
He plans to arrive at Wake in the early summer and get started.
“At Wake Forest it seems like it’s more than just about basketball,” he said. “They’re really there for you.”