CLASS OF: 2003
SCHOOL: Detroit Country Day HS, MI
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT: 6'7, 255lbs
REACH AND WINGSPAN:
POSITION: Center/Power Forward
01-02 RATINGS: #191 (HS) #4 Midwest PF (SPOT)
00-01 RATINGS: #142 (HS)
STATUS: Signed with Purdue
AAU TEAM: The Family
Ije Nwankwo, a 6'7 power player from Detroit Country Day high school in
Michigan, is a wide bodied banger with a host of skills that gives him
the potential to become some of the players he is being compared to at
the moment. Names like Elton Brand and Charles Barkley are thrown around,
yet Ije is just coming into his game. A player who can put the ball on
the floor and handle pressure from forwards, while also having the ability
to bang with physical skill in the low post. His footwork and drop step
compliment his ability to move defenders in the post, making him a solid
low post scorer and above average rebounder. While occassionally still
drawn off his feet, he is capable of defensing the low post with his
long arms and good footwork, blocking anywhere from three to eight shots
per game. His stock is climbing as he replaces a label of "undersized"
with one of power and ability. Nwankwo is also nearly a year younger
than his peers. Also runs cross-country for DCD.
As a senior, Nwankwo was a third team all-state selection, averaging
16.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.3 blocks for a 23-2 DCD team. DCD ended
the season ranked No. 1 in Michigan Class B, but was upset in district
play by Detroit Renaissance.
Purdue offered Nwankwo a scholarship offer on the Friday before the
Memorial Day Nike Tournament, as he stopped by campus on the way down to
the tournament. After returning home following the weekend tournament to
discuss the offer, Nwankwo told the coaches he would accept just two days
later. He committed committed to Purdue over a offer from Michigan. Others
showing interest were Marquette, Michigan State, Toledo, Wisconsin, Iowa
and Penn State.
Ije Nwankwo verbally committed to Purdue on May 29, 2002. He officially
signed with Purdue during the early signing period in November of 2002.
7-09-02...In watching Boiler commit Ije Nwankwo play on Sunday night, I can
see why Purdue offered early for him. Although not entirely in the swing of
the run and gun chaos of all-star basketball, he showed more endurance than
you might expect from someone with such a large frame. Nwankwo was not
officially measured by Nike because of his late arrival, but looks to be in
the 6'6 range with about a 6'10 wingspan.
Nwankwo got better as the game progressed. His first offensive attempt was
whistled dead when Ije made too much use of his elbow to hook around a post
player. The second attempt was slick curl move that drew a phantom whistle
for traveling. His third attempt at a shot was stripped by a weakside
forward on the baseline. A very quick spin got him around his defender in
the low post, only to have the weakside defense waiting for him on the
Nwankwo functioned as a power forward, yet had little help in the post. 6'7
Ndudi Ebi would collapse occassionally, but ran his game mostly from mid-range
out to the perimeter leaving Ije with little post help. Plus I have to
credit his opponents for some inspired boardwork. The opposing team had two
6'9 players and two 6'7 forwards. Their forwards crashed the boards very
hard. You didn't see Ije blocking out much, as he was needed to go after the
ball. Ije was fouled going for a rebound on his fourth attempt, and hit his
The second period began with a big block from Ije, then shortly followed by
a rebound and outlet to a streaking guard downcourt. Ije hit him in stride
for the easy layup. Then Ije had a series of plays where he would post up,
get the inlet pass, then whip the ball back out to the perimeter. He shows
a nice eye for that kind of inside-outside game. He's not the kind of player
that needed to be double-teamed at Nike, but I could see how he could get
there by the end of his senior year in high school. If he starts to draw
the double-team, lookout.
The second half was much better than the first. A steal and solo break down
the court for a layup was something not seen yet from him. The fact it came
in the second half also pointed to his athleticism. He looks big, and IS
big, but has good stamina. Ije also had a tip-in basket over a opposing
All in all a nice set of skills. He's strong at defending in the low post,
but when he wasn't down low he tended to wander a bit on defense. It would
have been interesting to see him play on a team with a good low post center.
He has the ability to prevent opponents from backing him down in the post.
5-30-02...The staff has filled the remaining scholarship for the class of
2003 by getting a verbal commitment from 6'7 Ije Nwankwo of Birmingham
(Detroit) Country Day (MI). If the team remains the same as it is now,
Keady is finished recruiting with the class of 2003. The advantage to
being done so early is the staff can now focus on the class of 2004, a
class they will have six scholarships available to offer. Two are already
set aside for shooting guard Robert Vaden and point guard Desmond Gadis.
The scholarship grid has been updated to reflect Nwankwo's commitment.
5-28-02...Word out of Bloomington and this weekend's Nike Memorial Day
Classic is that Keady extended a scholarship offer to 6'7 Ije Nwankwo of
Birmingham (Detroit) Country Day (MI) on Friday. Nwankwo, a power forward
who can post up, was rated most recently by Hoop Scoop at No. 142, but
his stock has been rising as he replaces his "undersized" label with
some strong play on the floor. And talk about cross-training. At a solid
265 pounds last summer, Nwankwo ran cross country in the fall and
dropped 25 pounds. It now looks like he might be back up to around 255.
He was a third team all-state selection last year, averaging 16.8
points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.3 blocks. Nwankwo is also nearly a year
younger than his classmates. Purdue looks to be the first major Big Ten
program to offer, while Michigan and Michigan State are still evaluating.
4-22-02...Ije was named to the All-Area second team by the Birmingham
Eccentric. Head coach Kurt Keener had this to say about his star player...
"He was the inside force that complimented our outside attack. I think his
decision to run cross country helped his conditioning and he went through
a natural maturing process that also made him a better all-around player."
(4/22/02, Birmingham Eccentric).
3-17-02...The state championship game would be held in East Lansing this
year, yet getting out of Detroit would prove to be the hardest challenge
for Country Day. Ranked No. 1 in Class B, DCD ran into 21-4 Detroit
Renaissance in the Regional final game. The result would be a 65-48 loss.
DCD pulled to within three points three minutes into the final quarter,
but could get no closer as inside anchor Ije Nwankwo would foul out of his
first game of the season. Ije picked up two fouls in the first quarter,
and his third at the start of the second quarter that would keep him on
the bench until the second half. Nwankwo was one of only four DCD players
to score in the game, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven
blocked shots. DCD finished the season with a 23-2 record. Renaissance
head coach Mark White had this to say about shutting down Nwankwo..."He's
a matchup problem for us, so you try to draw some fouls on him. If he
gets himself out of defensive position, like leaving his feet, then you
go up and draw the foul. If he tries to close out a drive, you want to
go strong at him. We didn't have any one person that can defend him. It
was team defense. We started Barber on him, then went with Talley. They
can't defend him alone. We needed weak-side help." (3/18/02, Detroit
3-14-02...Ije Nwankwo scored 31 points and senior Kevin Nelson added 15
for Country Day (23-1), as DCD easily handled Mt. Clemens 82-61.
3-5-02...The last time Ije Nwankwo came up against Orchard Lake's
Robert Jolley, Nwankwo ended up in the parking lot on his butt.
Jolley got some leverage in the low post, and bumped Nwankwo through
the side exit door into the parking lot. In this opening round game
of the Class B district tournament, Nwankwo would not be pushed around.
He scored 23 points and his defenders, including a steal and dunk
with two minutes remaining to break the game into a two possession lead
for DCD. Robert Jolley was held to 12 points.
2-14-02...Not satisfied with playing Michigan teams, Keener took DCD
on another road trip to Ohio. It would be his team's third matchup with
Ohio teams this season. This time to take on St. Edwards, one of
the top programs in the Cleveland (OH) area. DCD put a 14-0 record on the
line, and had to hit a runner at the buzzer at the end of the first overtime
period to maintain their undefeated season. Nwankwo had 18 points, 10
rebounds and five blocked shots.
2-3-02...DCD defeated Detroit Community 62-46. Nwankwo contributed nine
points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
1-27-02...Ije led all scorers with 23 points as DCD beat No. 5 New Haven
12-27-01...Nwankwo contributed eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocked
shots to a 65-54 victory over Hudson (OH) at the Tramonte Prep Classic
held at Kent State University.
12-23-01...Country Day defeated Orchard Lake 56-43 behind 24 points from
Nwankwo. He also led DCD in rebounds (11) and blocks (3). DCD led by as many
as 22 at the half, but Orchard Lake would make a fourth quarter run to
get within nine. The win was revenge of sorts, since Orchard Lake bounced
DCD from regionals last year.
3-11-01...Ranked No. 1 as the defending Class B champions, Orchard Lake
stopped Country Day's advancement toward a state championship by defeating
the No. 4 ranked Yellowjackets 66-53. Nwankwo shared team-high scoring honors
with John Andrews, both scoring 18 points. Nwankwo also had eight rebounds
and three blocked shots.
3-1-01...Ashton Aikens and Ije Nwankwo each scored 12 points and Kevin Nelson
chipped in with seven as the Yellow Jackets improved to 14-4 on the year.
Nwankwo added seven rebounds and blocked five shots.
2-22-01...It took a strong fourth quarter effort to put away Western Reserve
Academy (OH). Outscoring Western Reserve 22-9 in the final quarter led to a
74-61 victory. Sophomore Ije Nwankwo held up the post with a solid 11 point,
10 rebound effort.
12-14-00...Country Day had four player in double figures ina a 69-58 win
over Farmington. Ije Nwankwo was DCD's second leading scorer with 15 points,
and top rebounder with 10.
Scouting report by Gene Keady..."Ije is an unusual player in that he is only
6-foot-7, but will probably play down low for us. For his size he has great
athleticism, and he possesses good strength. He's the kind of kid who likes the
physical play that is involved in the post." (11/15/02, Purdue SID)
Scouting report by head coach Kurt Keener..."He has huge hands and long arms,
hands and arms of a 7-footer. He is a wide body who outquicks tall people and
outmuscles small ones. I'm sure Purdue fans remember Jarrett Stephens, who
played at Penn State a couple of years ago. Ije plays a lot like Stephens. I
think Ije's best basketball is in front of him. The structure at Purdue will
utilize his strengths." (5/31/02, Journal and Courier)
Scouting report by scout Vince Baldwin..."Powerful baby bull (255lbs) is a
load to handle on the low block. Great hands and a bigtime drop step. His 33
point 20 rebound game last week was impressive." (5/27/02, PrepSpotlight)
Scouting report by the Oakland Press..."Nwankwo lost 20 pounds in the offseason
thanks to a diet of basketball and cross country and has transformed into a major
college recruit. Elton Brand-type presence in the post. Averaged 10 points and 11
rebounds a night as a sophomore." (12/4/01, Oakland Press)
Date Day Time Opponent
---- --- ---- --------------------
11/30/02 SAT @ Rochester Adams (scrimmage)
12/13/02 FRI 7:30P @ Brother Rice Away
12/14/02 SAT Tournament
12/17/02 TUE 6:15P @ Seaholm
12/19/02 THR 7:30P @ Orchard Lk. St. Marys
01/11/03 SAT 7:30P Martin Luther King
01/14/03 TUE 7:30P @ Williamston
01/18/03 SAT 7:30P Flat Rock
01/31/03 FRI 7:30P @ New Haven
02/07/03 FRI 7:30P Detroit Community
02/12/03 WED 7:00P AA Pioneer
02/15/03 SAT 6:00P St. Edward's (OH)
02/21/03 FRI 7:30P Covert
02/22/03 SAT 6:00P Holland Christian
02/25/03 TUE 7:00P Flint Northern
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