Boys Basketball: Stock continues to rise for Huntley’s Amanze EgekezeHuntley sophomore Amanze Egekeze puts up a shot earlier this season. Egekeze averages a team-best 12.4 points for the Red Raiders. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 30, 2012 7:51PM
There are many reasons why Huntley sophomore Amanze Egekeze is being recruited by almost every team in the Big Ten.
First off, Egekeze is 6-foot-6 with a 6-11 wingspan, the kind of frame that typically makes college coaches drool.
Then there’s Egekeze’s impressive all-around skill set on the court. When it comes to scoring, rebouding, ballhandling, passing, blocking shots and defending in the post and on the perimeter, Egekeze is capable of doing it all effectively.
Last but certainly not least, it’s hard not to be impressed by Egekeze’s attitude and maturity, both of which suggest his arrow will continue pointing up for the foreseeable future.
“I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, but I think I kind of have the mindset of one,” Egekeze said. “I’m never really satisfied, and no matter how good of a performance I have, I’m always trying to see what I can to do improve. If I score 15, I feel like I could have had 20 because I’m always thinking about every play.”
In his second varsity season, Egekeze has taken over as Huntley’s leading scorer with 12.4 points per game after serving as the team’s sixth man last year. More and more opponents are focusing their defensive game plan on Egekeze, which is noteworthy considering he starts alongside three three-year varsity starters in the Red Raiders lineup.
Egekeze also leads Huntley with 2.2 blocks per game, is second on the team with 4.8 rebounds per game and is third on the team with 1.4 steals per game. Those all-around contributions have helped the Raiders to a 17-2 record and sole possession of first place in the Fox Valley Valley, but Huntley coach Marty Manning remains steadfast in his belief this is only the tip of the iceberg for Egekeze.
“It almost seems like the better a player becomes, the more you think he can improve just because the potential is there,” Manning said. “That’s kind of how I feel with Amanze.
“He probably doesn’t like it because as coaches we’re never satisfied with where he’s at, but it’s about finding out what else he can do with his skill set.”
Egekeze was born in the Chicago area and moved to Huntley in grade school. His older brother Kemdi Egekeze, who is a senior reserve on Huntley’s team, was born in Houston after parents Gilbert and Liza Egekeze immigrated to the United States from Nigeria.
Gilbert is a doctor and Liza is a nurse, and while Kemdi aspires to follow his parents into the medical profession, Amanze says his interests could lead him to pursue an engineering or business degree in college. Regardless of what field of study he chooses, rest assured academics will play an important role in which schools make Egekeze’s list of potential destinations.
Egekeze, who is being projected as a small forward at the college level, says Illinois and Wisconsin stand out at this stage in the recruiting process. Purdue, DePaul and Marquette have also shown interest, and Stanford is among a smaller group of schools outside the region that have made contact.
“I think it comes natural to me to be down to earth and humble about everything, so I don’t let things get to my head,” Egekeze said. “At the same time, (the recruiting process) is kind of exciting, and with that comes a lot more responsibility for me, too.”