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.
His name is God’s Gift and according to his coach, he might just be that for some college program.
God’s Gift Achiuwa is a 6-foot-8 power forward originally from Nigeria who competes at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y. His father is a minister in his home country and gave him the unusual name.
He is being recruited by Ohio State, Cincinnati, St. John’s, N.C. State, Marquette, Hawaii and Niagara, according to Erie coach Alex Nwora.
“He’s not going to take any visits until afer Christmas,” Nwora said Wednesday by phone. “After Christmas, we’re going to cut down and narrow down to three or four schools he’s going to visit and then we’re going to make a decision and sign in April.”
Nwora said Achiuwa could make a verbal commitment before April, of course.
“After he takes his visits, if he sees a a school he likes he might give a verbal commitment so they won’t keep recruiting that position,” he said.
St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin, who still has eight scholarships to give and embarks Thursday on a weeklong recruiting adventure, visited Achiuwa last week.
“Yes, he came down last week and had a very good visit with him,” he said. “Tony Chiles came out first and Steve came down and he had a good talk with them.
“That’s one of the schools that’s on his radar.”
Nwora, a fellow Nigerian, founded Global Sports Advantage six years ago and now operates various camps in Africa aimed at helping the top players come to the U.S.
Achiuwa has only been here a year but averaged 13.1 points, 13.5 rebounds and two blocks per game as a freshman. He earned third-team all-American honors and helped lead Erie to a 27-2 record.
“I think he’s one of the best power forwards in the country right now,” Nwora said. “I’ve been in junior college for 12 years. This is my 22nd year in the U.S. Out of all the kids I’ve come across, he’s the one that has a very good chance of getting drafted.
“If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s got a good chance of getting looked at by a scout.”
Nwora didn’t rule out that the possibility that Achiuwa could go pro after this year instead of attending college.
“He’s that good,” he said. “The kid doesn’t stop working. Somebody could come after him to get into the draft.”
As for his unusual name, Nwora said Achiuwa’s Erie teammates don’t give him a hard time.
“He’s one of those kids, he’s serious about the game,” he said. “He’s serious about his life. He’s very religious so most of hist teammates respect him and treat him seriously.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.