NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt basketball already has a standout from Nigeria on its current roster in redshirt-junior Ejike Obinna. Now the Commodores will feature a duo from the African nation in 2020-21.
Akeem Odusipe, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, signed with the program in April after an exceptional career at Knoxville Catholic High School. He said he knows that if someone like Obinna, with a similar background to his own, can have success on West End, then so can he.
“I can learn from (Obinna),” Odusipe said. “He’s been there and he knows the ways of what to do and how to work.”
A 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward, Odusipe reportedly had scholarship offers from Auburn, Maryland, West Virginia and Georgia Tech, among others. His relationship with Vandy head coach Jerry Stackhouse helped convince him the Commodores were right for him.
“I feel like he can take me to the next level,” Odusipe said. “He’s been to the NBA so I feel like learning from him will be really good for me for my process.”
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Odusipe, the captain of his KCHS team during the 2019-20 season, averaged 16.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. His final two years of high school saw him average 15.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contests in 59 games while shooting 62 percent from the field.
Also a nominee for the Knox News Sports Award boys’ basketball player of the year, Odusipe had nine points and 13 boards in Catholic’s 50-47 win over Briarcrest in Tennessee’s Division II-AA title game at Lipscomb University. He was named to the Knoxville News Sentinel’s All-PrepXtra boys’ basketball team and the Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state team.
In 2019, Odusipe made the Under Armor SC30 Select Camp – as announced by Stephen Curry.
That’s a pretty good resume for a young man who has been in the United States for less than five years. Now he’s prepared to show he can compete in the Southeastern Conference.
“Just play aggressive, run, know the plays – I just got to be aware and play hard, rebound and run and get back on defense. Take my shots and just play,” Odusipe said of his mindset coming into his freshman season. “Just to give it all I got and go hard every practice, try to make my teammates better and just bring a different mentality.”