The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Graduating senior left mark on the Hilltop

Senior Ike Ofoegbu said he will try and pursue a career in professional basketball after he graduates this May.
Danny Wilderotter
Senior Ike Ofoegbu said he will try and pursue a career in professional basketball after he graduates this May.

Senior Ike Ofoegbu said he will try and pursue a career in professional basketball after he graduates this May. (Danny Wilderotter)

If you followed SMU basketball this season, you may know all about Ike Ofoegbu’s game. If not, you can get on smumustangs.com and read up on Ike’s impressive stats. He averaged 14.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He racked up 10 double-doubles this season leading Conference USA. He was also named Third Team All-Conference.

Ike is graduating in May, and unfortunately his college basketball career is over. So who is Ike off the court? Stats can’t tell you that.

“He’s a very solid, mature person that you’d want as a friend, son-in-law or teammate,” said head coach Matt Doherty.

His tough-love Christian parents, John and Justina, made sure of that.

“I really didn’t go out, didn’t have a nightlife, home by 10 o’clock, no girlfriend,” said Ike, giving some insight into life under his parents’ roof.

Growing up “the son of a preacher man” involved a lot of rules, but also a lot of love – love the couple spread between five children, two countries and two continent.

John and Justina were born in Nigeria and moved to the U.S. 26 years ago. They now live in San Antonio where John founded “Unity for Africa,” a ministry which missions to parts of Africa, Mexico and the Fiji Islands. Ike has traveled to Nigeria four times to visit family and work with orphans as part of his father’s ministry.

“Seeing different parts of the world, how people struggle just gives you a broad sense of not taking things for granted,” said Ike. “It’s made me very humble.”

And one man in particular took note of his humility. Ike was returning to the U.S. from a mission trip in Africa, and while he was waiting for his flight a man saw him giving up his seat and carrying peoples’ luggage. The man introduced himself to Ike and called his mother, Justina, the next morning to tell her what a gentleman Ike is.

“That’s the kind of person he is,” said Justina.

On the court, it’s the same story.

Having a humble attitude has affected his teammates’ outlook on his sudden success too. Many times, players resent a teammate’s success or role as the “go-to guy,” but not in Ike’s case.

“The thing I’ve felt is that his teammates really like and respect him,” said Coach Doherty.

In fact, his teammate Derrick Roberts is his best friend and roommate.

SMU has been a positive experience academically, athletically and socially for Ike. However, SMU wasn’t his first choice. He was bent on going to Texas Tech, where his older brother John played at the time. Only a year and a day apart, the brothers are very close.

“But my mom didn’t want me to go the same place as my brother,” said Ike. She wanted me to be my own person.”

So off he went to Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas.

“Parents won’t hurt you when they give advice,” said Ike.

Now he’s looking to someone new for direction – an agent – in pursuing a career in basketball.

Dream team? The Spurs, said Ike without a moment’s hesitation, loyal to his hometown team.

“I know Ike wants to be a lawyer, but right now he wants to play ball,” said Justina. “Whatever the Lord wants for him, he will get it.”

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