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OLD GOLD FREE PRESS
Purdue Men's Basketball Recruiting

Chance encounter makes a lasting impression


Ije Nwankwo recalls his first contact with Purdue


July 8, 2002
By: Bob Richards
© Old Gold Free Press

    It didn't seem to take long for Ije Nwankwo to decide Purdue was the place to be, ultimately committing days after offered a scholarship during an unofficial visit in May.

    "Purdue was the best fit for me," Nwankwo said on Sunday at the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis. "I just went over there, liked the coaches, experienced the campus, and thought it would be the best fit."

    Purdue's courtship of Nwankwo actually began in the ninth grade, with a chance meeting with Cuonzo Martin. Martin was at Detroit Country Day looking at older players, when the then-freshman Nwankwo first met the Boilermaker recruiting assistant.

    "I just remembered that," recalled Nwankwo, while thinking back to the first time he could remember Purdue showing interest. "He said 'How you doing'."

    Even though Nwankwo wasn't a target on the Purdue radar at the time, the simple greeting was the extent of permissible contact Martin could have had with the young player. The brief encounter was enough.

    "I later heard through somebody that he was really interested in me after that."

    The verification came by mail toward the end of his freshman year, becoming heavier at the beginning of his sophomore year. Those letters, as a consistent reminder of Purdue's interest, kept Purdue as an option until Nwankwo finally visited campus at the end of his junior year.

    Even though Nwankwo grew up within walking distance of the University of Michigan as a fan of the Michigan program.

    The 6'6 forward added the coaching staff recruited him as a power forward, possibly going out to the small forward position if needed.


As news organizations move their stories to an archive, some of the links listed above may become inactive

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Guest_Columnist -Gazing into the Crystal Bubble, Part III: The SEC/Big Ten/PAC 10
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