Ekene Ibekwe(Brandon Hunter Is A Lot Funnier Than People Think)

Ekene Ibekwe is a 27 year old 206cm forward from Los Angeles that has the Nigerian and American citizenship. He is a long, lean dynamic post player with unlimited athletic potential, a talented shooter for his size who can take the ball to the basket and score in the post and a high-flying finisher and shot blocker. He played at Maryland from 2003-2007 winning the ACC tournament in 2004. He turned professional in 2007 and played for Gilboa/Afula/Migdal Haemek (Israel-Premier League), left in Feb.’08: 11games: 11.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2Pts 61.1%, FGP 77%, next month moved to Besanon Basket ComtDoubs (France-ProB, starting five): 8 games: 10.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.4spg, Blocks-2(1.6bpg), 2FGP: 50%, FT: 69.7%. In 2008-2009, he played for Mutlu Aku Selcuk Universitesi Konya (Turkey-TBL, starting five): 28 games: 18.6ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8spg, Blocks-5(1.8bpg), FGP: 60.6%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 57.0%
2009: In May signed at Gigantes de Carolina (Puerto Rico-BSN): 9 games: 10.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0apg, 2.3spg, 2.2bpg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 40.7%. In 2009-2010, he played for Kepez Bld Antalya (Turkey-TBL) in Jan.’10 signed at Genc Banvitliler (Turkey-TB2L, starting five): 10 games: 21.2ppg, 10.6rpg, 1.2apg, 2.2spg, 2.1bpg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 59.2%. After a short stint with the Artland Dragons in the 2010-2011 season, he came to BBC Bayreuth playing 49 Beko BBL games. Last season, he averaged 11,6ppg and 5,6rpg. He played at the World Championships in Japan -06: 6 games: 8.7ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 50.0%, FT: 33.3% . He spoke to German Hoops about basketball at the start of the summer.

A month after you finished the season, how much did you have a basketball in your hands?

Every day. I took a few days off, but other than that, I have been working out and getting ready for the next adventure.

What was the first thing that you did when you got off the plane in Los Angeles?

I went home and gave my mom a hug.

American players usually like to go eat somewhere when they return home. Where was the first place that you went to eat?

Rosco´s chicken and waffle a famous place here in Los Angeles.

You finished your second season with BBC Bayreuth. The club finished with a 12-22 record. What was your season summary?

It was a tough season for us, but it was the best record the team has had in a long time. The season could have been better, but we had many injuries and I am happy that I was able to play for the beautiful city of Bayreuth.

After losing the first four games, the team replaced Andreas Wagner with Marco Van Den Berg. Why was the team able to play better?

He was a new coach and there were two different styles. I think that his style shock up opponents as they didn´t know what to adjust and it was harder for them to adjust to the new style.

After the big win at home against Alba Berlin, the team finished 4-12. Why did the team end the season on this note?

Thats basketball. We had tough injuries. We always fought hard and just tried to make the best of the situation. Our goal was always to play as good as we could and just be aggressive. Getting Danny Gibson was very important for jump setting our offense.

What do you remember the most about the spectacular win at home against Bremerhaven?

I don´t really remember that much, except that it was exciting and our fans were as loud as always.

Who was the most improved player on the team?

I saw the most improvement with German Stefan Schmidt. It was too bad that he went down with a shoulder injury at the end of the season.

How satisfied were you with your season of 11,6ppg, 5,6rpg and 22 times scoring in double figures?

I wasn´t as satisfied. One can always play better. I just tried to play as best as I could and do my role.

How did Brandon Hunter make you laugh?

People think he is serious, but he is a lot funnier than people think. It was good having an experienced player like him on the team. He has so much experience having played in the NBA, and Eurocup and I learned a lot from him. He was like a teacher when a coach wasn´t there.

What is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?

People see me as a defensive presence and guy that can block shots. However my low post game and outside shooting have gotten better. I just want to continue to work hard and become the complete player that I want to become.

What is your favorite place in Bayreuth?

Just being in my living room and playing video games.

What was your childhood like?

I grew up in Los Angeles. I played a lot of basketball, baseball and football. I had a lot of fun.

Who were your basketball idols as a kid?

My favorite player was Magic Johnson. As I got older, I liked Kobe bryant and Kevin Garnett.

Why did you choose to go to Maryland(NCAA)?

I always liked the ACC and their style. I just wanted to experience playing against schools like Duke and North Carolina. The ACC was the best conference at the time.

How present was the legacy of Len Bias at Maryland?

Everybody knew about Len Bias there.

What was your nicest memory at Maryland?

Winning the ACC tournament against Duke in OT.

Who won a one on one game in practice, you or NBA draft pick James Gist?

We didn´t really play a lot of one on one. If we did, there would be a lot of dunks. It would be a very physical game and we wouldn´t allow any dunks actually. He would try to set fights, but he is a good friend of mine.

Do you like the basketball nomad life?

I just will go there where a team wants me and where I fit in best.

What is your summer schedule?

I will play summer league with the Portland Trailblazers and play with the Nigerian national team in August to prepare for the Summer Olympics.

You have played in Israel, Turkey and Germany. In what country would you like to play in where you haven´t played yet?

I had fun in all places, but I felt most comfortable in Germany.

What do you remember most from the 2006 World Championships in Japan?

It was a great experience playing against so much top competition and I was so young at the time just 21 and still at Maryland. I want to thank God for this opportunity. The fans were very supportive.

Who was the best player that you played against at the World Championships in 2006?

Dirk Nowitzki. Germany beat us with a buzzer beater.

How does a work out day look like in the summer?

I get up at 8:00am and do drill work in the gym. Then I go and get something to eat. In my second work out, I do court work and weight lifting. I play pick up games against guys like Dorell Wright, Trevor Ariza and Bobby Brown.

What do you still need to improve on your game?

I can improve on all parts wit my shooting range, ball handling and court awareness.

What were the most free throws that you have made in a row without missing?

30.

What was your most crazy shot that you made in a game?

I made a half court shot last season, but it didn´t count.

What was the last DVD that you?

The Dictator.

Thanks for the chat Ekene

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