Playing on the 16 and under circuit, Emmanuel Negedu dominated down low from April to July. Now in his junior year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, Negedu is looking forward to playing against players a year or two his senior.
Negedu, the No. 25 ranked player in the class of 2007, helped lead the Indiana Elite 16 and under team to several tournament titles all AAU season long. Negedu was the foundation for the Elite's run through the circuit.
"I think I played really good. I played really hard. I don't like losing," Negedu said. "If I'm losing, I don't show my leadership and my team doesn't play well. So I have to play hard. I have to pick it up. I'm really happy with the way things went."
Negedu said one of the reasons he was so successful was his time spent with so many Division I players in the last two seasons at Brewster.
"That helped a lot. Playing with Jeff Adrien and Chris Lutz and Kyle Wright and Will Harris, all of those guys, they are all big time players," Negedu said. "I learned a lot from them because they were all older and bigger and stronger. They pushed me and helped me. Now it comes easy for me because I've been playing with them for so long. They really helped."
If any one player helped him more it was Adrien, who Negedu's game is somewhat similar to.
"He works really hard. He was a smaller inside g that plays hard and tough. I think I got that from him."
What Negedu did not get from Adrien is a 46-inch vertical jump. Negedu has one of the quickest and most explosive set of springs of any player in the country. He came to Brewster Academy with a 42 inch vertical jump, he said.
"I used to be scared so I never showed it off," Negedu said. "But I've been working out and getting stronger. I never thought that I'd jump higher even though I got bigger."
Coaches are lining up to see Negedu this days. Some are even flying right to the gym. Lute Olson landed on the soccer field in a helicopter to see Negedu on the first day of the fall evaluation period. Talk about making an entrance.
Tennessee and Texas came in to see him on Sunday. Iowa, Arizona, Iowa State, Creighton, Indiana and Syracuse have all been in to see him or have immediate plans to do so. Negedu said he isn't in a rush to decide on a school.
"I'm open right now," Negedu said. "I have two more years to go. I have time."