Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Some great names have sprung up in college basketball in recent months.
God’sgift Achiuwa and Sir’Dominic Pointer alone will be playing for Steve Lavin at St. John’s next season.
But now a new man hopes to challenge for best name in the Big East.
His legal moniker is Ice Asortse and he could be playing at a Big East school near you in 2012.
“It’s my given name,” the native Nigerian, 22, told SNY.tv Tuesday night by phone. “When I get done playing with people, they gotta get some ice packs for their body.”
West Virginia, Marquette, Georgetown, Providence and Maryland are among the schools curious about the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Iceman. He is currently staying in Washington, D.C., and said he’s playing pick-up at both Georgetown and Maryland.
After averaging 10.1 points and 9.3 rebounds, he was named the Offensive Player of the year last season on a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College team that went 21-6 and won its first MACJC title since 1992. He has one year remaining at junior college and would then have two of Division 1 eligibility on his clock.
“He can play the 2, 3 or 4,” said his mentor, Joe Boncore. “He’s a powerful kid. With his ball-handling and his shooting, he can play the two. I know people always say that but this kid can really do that.”
Boncore has become something of a mentor to many African players in recent years. He tutored Moses Ayegba, a rising sophomore big man at Georgetown, and combo guard Maurice Aniefiok, whose commitment to Ole Miss was broken by SNY.tv.
“I play like Charles Barkley or bigger and I can put the ball on the floor and I can shoot anywhere on the court,” the Iceman said.
Asked if he could hit the 3-pointer consistently, he said, “Yeah.”
Asortse arrived in the U.S. last August and said Miami was interested in him, but he never passed through the NCAA Clearinghouse.
“I can’t say exactly what happened,” he said. “I gave them everything and they told me to get the board in Nigeria to send my official transcript and I did that.”
He has taken unofficials to Maryland and Georgetown and may visit West Virginia and Marquette sometime soon.
“I want to play in the Big East,” he said. “Maryland is the only school that is not in the Big east that I really like.”
Asortse said he’s knows St. John’s Achiuwa from back home in Nigeria, although they never faced off.
“He’s real good,” he said of the man they call ‘Gift.’ “He’s strong.”
But if the Iceman lands in the Big East in 2012, look out. Somebody might need some ice packs.
“I like playing really physical,” he said.
(Photos courtesy Joe Boncore)
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.