Growing Popularity in Egekeze

He wasn't one of the headline visitors to attend Wisconsin's regular season finale on Sunday, but Huntley (Ill) forward Amanze Egekeze is certainly heading in that direction. Getting plenty of early interest, Egekeze recaps his second unofficial visit to Wisconsin.

MADISON - Although he's only a sophomore, Amanze Egekeze described himself as one of the team's leaders on his Hunley (Ill.) HS team and one of the players that isn't afraid to speak up when things are not going well or players are sulking.

It's an attribute that the 6-7, 195-pound forward attributes to his upbringing and his confidence when it comes to stepping on the court.

"It definitely starts at home with my parents instilling good values in me," Egekeze told Badger Nation. "It's stuck with me throughout my life to help me be down to earth. It's stuck with me and it's something I carry on the court. My maturity is something that apparently has attracted a lot of coaches and how I carry myself on the court. I think it's helped my game because I don't worry about every single play." One of those coaching staffs that have been impressed with that is the University of Wisconsin, so much so that they extended an invitation to Egekeze to attend Sunday's game against Illinois.

Egekeze visited the campus in November for Wisconsin's game against Wofford, but the atmosphere he experienced this time around gave him a better picture of what Wisconsin's basketball is all about.

"The Big Ten is one of the most competitive conferences around, and you could feel that (Sunday)," said Egekeze. "The game against Wofford did not have a lot of significance, but I got a better feel for the atmosphere. It was a great atmosphere. I like the weight room and the weight facility and the staff. They have really good things there, which would be something I would be looking forward to if I commit there."

Just as important as the atmosphere and the free weights is the relationship with the coaching staff, the thing that Egekeze said is one of the best things about his two visits.

"I really like the coaching staff a lot," Egekeze said. "I think Coach Ryan is a great coach. I really, really like his personality and style of coaching. Coach Greg Gard has been doing the most with me and my recruiting, and I like him a lot. They seem really interested and I know they are going to be a good team in the future with Sam Dekker and Bronson Koenig.

"They made me feel like I could be a part of that kind of success and that I was an important piece. I appreciated how they were straight up with me and they weren't wishy washy when they saying what I needed to do to get better."

In addition to Wisconsin, Egekeze has been getting early interest DePaul, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford and Wichita State to name just a few. He's still looking for his first scholarship.

After developing his game during the AAU season with the Illinois Wolves, Egekeze has become a force this season for Hunley, helping his team with its regional on Friday. After averaging only three points playing behind a group of seniors as a freshman on varsity, Egekeze leads the team with around 19 points and roughly seven rebounds per game and broke the school record for blocks in the season with 60 and counting.

Although he is not a big 7-footer, Egekeze uses every bit of his 61 inch wingspan to his advantage, another reason schools are starting to take notice of him.

"Coaches have been telling me that I'll be a three in college, so I am trying to make that transition," said Egekeze. "I play a lot of five in high school and I work on my outside game during the AAU season (with the Illinois Wolves). I've had the mentality of block shots since grade school, so I guess I am really good at timing and using my long arms."

Wisconsin is expected to have three scholarships available for the 2014 recruiting class.


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