Players such as shooting guard Austin Ajukwa (Columbia, S.C./Cardinal Newman) need that one seminal moment that helps them elevate their game. The senior guard, a 6-foot-5 scoring maven, turned up the tempo on his mojo with a performance at Big Shots in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“There wasn’t enough seats for the coaches and I had 36 in that game and I felt really confident for the rest of the summer,” Ajukwa said.
He had an East Carolina offer at the time and within weeks his stock ballooned. South Carolina, Clemson and Boston College offered. They joined UTEP and Miami (Ohio). By the middle of July, Wake Forest and N.C. State were eyeballing him.
At Big Shots, Ajukwa said South Carolina amounted to his dream school. Weeks later, Gamecocks coach Frank Martin offered a scholarship. The Gamecocks were destined to be a player but are they THE player? “I love that I got the offer and I’m definitely looking into it,” Ajukwa said. “I was born in Columbia but I’m still looking at all my options and weighing them.”
Ajukwa has committed to taking three visits so far -- East Carolina, South Carolina and Clemson. The Tigers offered him in late July after Brad Brownell did his homework and made numerous head coach evaluations. ECU’s Jeff Lebo didn’t leave Ajukwa’s side at the Peach State, the event following his blow-up in Myrtle Beach.
Ajukwa is a summer success story. The grind of July is what he needed to turn the corner. A month of the circuit empowered Ajukwa to take the next step and fill up his tank with the confidence needed to be an even better player.
“I’ve always felt like I had a chip on my shoulder, like I was underrated. I want to be a really good college player from the beginning and then a pro. All of the hard work is starting to show.”