The College basketball season is just around the corner, and for student-athletes going into their Senior year, the month of November brings about a time when you reflect on all the trials and tribulations you have been through in an effort to prepare yourself for what is ahead.
For Siena Saints Oderah Anosike, the 2011/12 NCAA season is one the 6’8 power forward from Staten Island, New York will never forget. TNB recently caught up with O.D. to reflect on his amazing season where his 12.5 rebounds per game was the best in the Nation.
“I just put in a lot of hard work in the offseason and carried it over to the games. My teammates and coaching staff did an excellent job with putting me in places where I could be successful and produce.”
Anosike not only led the league in rebounding, he also finished second in double-doubles to Thomas Robinson who is now in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings. His relentless work ethic on and off the court has put him up there amongst the best in the nation, setting the stage for his final year, and it is about time the league started to take notice.
I’m a high-energy, high-motor, high-IQ player with a developing skill-set and underrated guard skills. I would compare myself to players like Kenneth Faired, Thomas Robinson, Serge Ibaka, and Ronnie Turiaf.”
One could say that playing in the MAAC might have put him a bit under the radar, but as the only returning Senior member on the team, Anosike is hoping to change all that, while at the same time lead his young Siena team to a successful campaign in the conference. During the summer, Anosike used the time off to work on other aspects of his game in a bid to be more of the complete package.
“Most of this offseason has been dedicated to working on my perimeter skills and trying to become a more complete player. I’ve been working on my mid-range jumpshot, my ball handling ability, and free throw shooting”.
As he prepares to dwelve into the world of professional basketball, one fellow athlete O.D knows he can always approach for some good advice is very close to home. Older sister Nkolika Anosike is a former University of Tennessee standout and plays in the WNBA for the Los Angeles Sparks and is currently playing in Turkey with Kayseri.
“My sister has influenced me a lot. Her work ethic and will to win has definitely rubbed off on me and I’m thankful for a sister like her.”
A high work ethic is something that runs in his family, both his parents came to the States from Nigeria before he was born in search of a better future for their kids, his father Ben is now a lawyer, and his Mother Ngozi a nurse. At Siena, O.D is never too far away from his Nigerian heritage, two of his current team-mates, first year guard Richard Audu, and redshirted Sophomore Imoh Silas were both born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents, all three including Anosike represent the most athletes with Nigerian ancestry in any D1 basketball program in the Nation.
“It’s great for team chemistry when you have a couple guys with similar ethnic backgrounds”, O.D said when asked about the Nigerian connection at Siena, “It makes for smoother connections on and off the court and hopefully that will help us win some more games.
Not only is Anosike nice on the court, he excels off it as well. Anosike is a political science major, and has maintained a solid GPA all throughout his time at Siena, he was recently named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Honors Court, an award that recognizes players who have excelled in academics throughout the year. “I enjoy reading and writing, and I love school. I’m a high-character person who likes to excel in the classroom.” he told TNB.
The rise of Oderah Anosike on the basketball front should not be taken as anything else but dedicated amount of hard work that has been put in over the years, his play on the court exemplifies his high work ethic, and together with his high academic achievements, O.D stands as an exemplary to his Siena teammates and anyone else that comes across his story. Ben and Ngozi laid the foundation for the Anosike’s when they came over from Anambra State in 1978, and O.D is on the right path to see that their dreams will become a reality.