will play basketball for Jamaica this summer.
And by next fall, he hopes to be playing in the NBA.
Efejuku, a 6-foot-5 forward out of Fresh Meadows., N.Y., who graduated from Providence, is one of several New York-area players who will compete for Jamaica in the Caribbean Basketball Championship June 28-July 4 in the British Virgin Islands.
Joining Efejuku on the Jamaican team are Louisville big man Samardo Samuels
, Rutgers guard Mike Coburn
and former Utah wing Garfield Johns.
“It’s an honor to represent your country or to have countries want you to represent
them in competition,” said Efejuku, whose parents are both Jamaican. “Even though now is a busy time for me, I still want to represent Jamaica in this competition and play and just learn and get better.”
It’s busy for Efejuku because he has been working out for several NBA teams in advance of Thursday’s NBA Draft.
He worked out for the Milwaukee Bucks this past Thursday, will go see the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday and said he “might” work out for the Knicks on Tuesday. Efejuku has also worked out for the Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs.
If he isn’t chosen in the draft, he said he hopes to latch on to a team as a free agent.
“It depends on how I do this week and what happens in the draft,” said Efejuku, who led Providence in scoring last year (15.7 ppg) and also was among the leaders in rebounds (4.0).
Efejuku leaves for the British Virgin Islands on Thursday to compete in the Caribbean Basketball Championship.
Samuels and Coburn are already in Jamaica working out with the team.
Samuels, who came to the U.S. from Trelawny, Jamaica and later starred at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, is something of a national hero in Jamaica, which also produced Patrick Ewing.
“He’s pretty famous,” Efejuku said of Samuels. “He lived there. He grew up there. Everybody knows him there.
“He came to America, now he’s on TV. He’s on one of the top college teams in the country. I’m sure everyone in Jamaica’s proud of him. It’s his way of supporting his country.”
Coburn continues his busy summer as well.
He traveled with Rutgers to Spain and the Canary Islands, where the team went 4-0 against international competition.
Now he gets a chance to play more international games in this event.
“It’s been a great experience so far and I’m really looking forward to all that’s still to come,” said Coburn. “I have been blessed with great teammates and coaches and we are working hard. It’s definitely been a busy summer with the travel, but I have learned a lot. Playing for Jamaica is a tremendous opportunity. I just want to work hard and do whatever the team needs, so that I represent my family and Rutgers well.”
“We are very proud of Mike,” said Rutgers head coach Fred Hill
. “He definitely earned this opportunity. Mike is a very gifted player who does things the right way. I’m confident that he will grow from his experiences this summer and will return to provide us great leadership.”
If Rutgers doesn’t land JUCO guard James Beatty, Corey Chandler
will likely start at the point for Rutgers. But Coburn will see time there as well.
“I told Samardo after we played them in the Garden [in the Big East Tournament] that I would be playing with him,” Efejuku said. “I’ve been looking forward to having Mike Coburn on board as well.
“I get to play with guys that I get to play against in our league. Now we get to be teammates.”
(Photos courtesy Louisville, Providence, Rutgers)
Chaz Carr – Boston College ’04; Manchester, CT
Michael Coburn – Rutgers University; Mt. Vernon, NY
Andre Smith – Miami , FL (hometown)
Weyinmi Efejuku – Providence College; Fresh Meadows, N.Y.
Garfield Johns – University of Utah; Bronx, N.Y
Mike Rogers – Valparaiso University; Kingston, Jamaica
Christopher Walker – Cedarville University; Kingston, Jamaica
Andree Wilson – Kentucky Wesleyan College; Kingston, Jamaica
Kali McCarthy – Kingston, Jamaica (hometown)
Damion Staple – Iowa State University ’06; Kingston, Jamaica
Adrian Forbes – Trinity Valley Comm. Coll.; St. Catherine, Jamaica
Ricardo Alliman – Cedarville University; Kingston, Jamaica
Samardo Samuels – University of Louisville; Trelawny, Jamaica
Oneil Mundle – Kingston, Jamaica (hometown)
Kimani Ffriend – University of Nebraska; Kingston, Jamaica