On December 4 last year in Marysville, soon after a City College of San Francisco 94-69 victory over Yuba College, the course of Emeka Udenyi‘s life began to shift dramatically. In the stands that evening sat Seattle Head Coach Jim Hayford and what he witnessed cemented his interest. “He liked my game,” according to a modest Udenyi. So after a recent recruiting visit to the Emerald City, the 6-foot-6, 220 talent committed to sign with the Redhawks in April.
“Me and my Mom went there this past weekend (February 1-2). On Saturday, we watched the Seattle-Cal Baptist game, took a tour of the school and had dinner with the coaches.” Udenyi then hung out with some of the players. Sunday brought a tour of Key Arena which is being refurbished and the downtown/waterfront area.
“I fell in love with the city, the coaches are great and I developed some relationships already with the players.” Plus, “I wanted to stay on the West Coast. My commitment is a big relief since this is my last year in JUCO.”
Additionally, Nate Robinson, a fellow CCSF-er, signed with the Redhawks back in November so a familiar face will be accompanying Udenyi north.
His advice to those entering the recruiting process: “go somewhere where you can get a good education, where you are wanted and the coaches care about you.”
Udenyi’s numbers, skills and versatility
At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Udenyi earned all conference honors last season and he is currently averaging 9.9 points, shooting 69% overall, plus grabbing a team high 6.5 rebounds in 22 games/19 starts. The Rams are an undefeated squad with eight players producing or close to double figures in scoring. He is third in assists at 3.6 each outing, a family-wide talent since older brother Amadi ranks fourth on the all-time assists list at Pepperdine.
Asked what he’ll be bringing to his new team, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, Udenyi offered, “the Seattle coaches call me a matchup nightmare. I can take a smaller opponent inside or a larger one to the perimeter and guard a big or a small. My passing is the best part of my game. There’s also my toughness as a rebounder.”
After graduating from De La Salle, Udenyi elected to spend a post-high school year at Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix. “I liked the experience and added to my game.” He enjoyed serious interest from a couple of schools but eventually decided to next go the community college route.
The selection of City College San Francisco was an easy one. “Being from the Bay Area, I chose CCSF because you have a chance to win and a lot of good players are always there. It’s the best team in Nor Cal and always in the playoffs for the state championship.”
Worth noting is that Udenyi and winning go hand-in-hand. Three years on varsity at De La Salle resulted in records of 27-5, 31-3 plus 28-6. Last season, CCSF played in the state championship game, finishing with 31-2 overall. Currently, the Rams stand 24-0. “This (CCSF) team is very unselfish and we want to see all of us do well,” he explained.
Udenyi offered thanks to “all my coaches at CCSF, Justin Labagh, Adam D’Acquisto, Tom McNichol and Garrett Moon who played for Coach Hayford at Eastern Washington, and to all my high school coaches. At De La Salle, he played for a series of highly-regarded mentors in Frank Allocco, AJ Kuhle and Justin Argenal.
He will be a Communications major at Seattle.