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JUNIOR ETOU EARNING HIGH-MAJOR LOOKS THIS SUMMER
By Ron Bailey
Basketball is a global concern now, with competitors emerging from locales across the globe. National Basketball Association team rosters prove the point, as players from virtually every continent exist there.
As in most things, trends trickle down from the highest level, and hoops is no different; there has been a movement for decades in which high school-aged international players attend U.S. high schools with the hopes of at a minimum gaining a collegiate scholarship.
Junior Etou is just such a guy. This native of Congo, Central Africa is not only playing in the States, but also is flourishing.
A 6-foot-8, 215-pound, active, athletic player in the Class of 2013, Etou attacks the boards, defends and scores from around 12 feet in consistently. He’s the kind of guy that wins ball games for college programs.
The likes of “Memphis, Miami, West Virginia, Arizona, Maryland” are recruiting him, shared Etou during the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp. The first two are the institutions that have tendered scholarship offers. Since then the likes of Cincinnati has also entered the picture.
In terms of the BIG EAST, Etou noted “I would like to play for the BIG EAST”, though his primary focus is to choose s a school “a great school where I can go in and play.” He is aware of, and likes the BIG EAST’s style of play.
Having been here a handful of years – the last two years he attended Arlington Country Day (VA) and now being enrolled at Bishop O’Connell (VA) – Etou has faced a number of adjustments: “Everything is different; when living in Africa, it is not like here…When I came over here, everything was hard for me. I just worked hard.”
That he has, with such an effort being on display during the Top 100 Camp, and during practices/workouts with his travel team, DC Assault. Despite having pedestrian averages during camp – such is the case when you focus on making winning plays and providing effort as opposed to scoring in such confabs – nobody can say Junior didn’t work hard on the court.
He did the same during moments when most other players were resting or enjoying themselves, typically around meal time. One day Etou hooked up with former NBA player Kermit Washington, learning a reverse pivot to face up, after which he drilled various counters off it. It was interesting to see Etou flourish with the teaching, almost blossoming before one’s eyes.
Etou loved the tutoring, saying “I had tried to do it (differently), I like this better. Nobody can stop you, nobody can guard you, if you do that”. Recognizing the utility of it, Etou pledged to take those lessons to the gym and incorporate them into his repertoire. Based on a recent DC Assault workout, Etou has done just that.
Speaking of his travel team home, what does he think of it?
“It’s a great experience” shared Etou in his soft spoken manner, when asked about DCA during Top 100 Camp. “We have a great program. The coaches are cool, and show us a lot”. One of the coaches, Darryl Prue, was highlighted by Junior as “A nice coach too – he’s our assistant coach. He helped me a lot on my post moves.” Over all he thinks DC Assault’s staff, including the head coach of Etou’s 17u team, former NBA bench leader Eddie Jordan “are good for us.”
Desiring to be a small forward in college (he is mirroring his domestic counterparts in that most 6’8” players do want to play that position), Etou knows his perimeter skill level must advance. “That’ why I’m going to work on my handle and jump shot this summer” he shared. “With DC Assault and O’Connell.”
Doing so will ensure success at the high major level as a half court three man for Junior Etou, who can also finish in transition, defend, rebound and provide energy. That’s a great combination for any school.
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