Nigerian recruit wows La Salle

Henry Agunanne is making his presence felt at De La Salle University. Photo courtesy of UCBL

He has yet to play his first official game in the University Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament, but Nigerian slotman Henry Agunanne is already making a lot of heads turn, including the coaching staff of his new school – De La Salle University.

Green Archers assistant coach Oliver Bunyi admitted that they were very impressed with the performance of the 6-foot-11 Agunanne in his first few training sessions with them.

A transferee from Centro Escolar University, Agunanne is tipped to follow the footsteps of fellow African student-athletes like Ange Kouame of Ateneo de Manila University and Malick Diouf of University of the Philippines with his deadly brew of height, basketball IQ and athleticism.

In fact, Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas reportedly showed interest in recruiting him but he eventually signed up with La Salle, which is staging a recruiting coup under the leadership of new coach Topex Robinson.

Bunyi said Agunanne is worth the hype.

“Henry is very promising and will play a vital role when his time to play in the UAAP comes,” said Bunyi, the former Emilio Aguinaldo College mentor who is now in-charged of sharpening the skills of the La Salle big men.

“He is athletic with above par skills set and good basketball IQ. We just have to develop his physical strength more.”

Aside from Bunyi, Agunanne, who averaged 10.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in his lone season with the Scorpions, is also earning the respect of his teammates.

Although he is set to sit out in Season 86 next year, Ben Phillips that Agunanne will be a force to be reckoned with when he formally gets the green light to patrol the paint of the Green Archers.

“He is extremely athletic. He has a nice shot and willingness to learn the game,” Phillips said.

“Once he fully understands Coach Topex’s system, he will be a major force in the UAAP.”

The last foreign student-athlete to play for the Green Archers was Ben Mbala of Cameroon, who bannered them to finals appearances in 2016 and 2017.

Bunyi said he sees a lot of similarities between Agunanne and Mbala, who emerged as UAAP Most Valuable Player in 2016.

“He should have dominance in protecting his home. He can only do that with hard work, discipline, and dedication. I saw all of these with Ben Mbala when he was with me in Team B while he was doing his residency,” he said.

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