Zena Edosomwan is a 6’9″, 230 lbs., four-star recruit primed for college basketball stardom.As one of the nation’s top forwards and a top-100 recruit in the class of 2012, Edosomwan received 39 scholarship offers from some major college hoops powerhouses, like UCLA and Texas.
But Edosomwan wanted something more. He wanted to go to Harvard.
Going against what the big basketball schools told him, which insisted it was a terrible decision, Edosomwan enrolled at a Massachusetts prep school so he could become academically eligible to play at Harvard (his SAT didn’t quite make the cut) and waited another year to enroll in college.
He committed to the Crimson in March and will enroll this fall, a year after he could’ve already been starring at one of the country’s top basketball schools.
Here’s Edosomwan’s reasoning (via Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated):
“Four years from now, when no one cares who Zena Edosomwan is, I know a lot of opportunities will be there for me to be successful on and off the court. And on top of that, why go for the average college experience when I could do something special that people remember me by? If I become successful, people will remember that I took that chance, that I had a higher purpose than basketball. Maybe I’ll be a trendsetter.”
Nabbing Edosomwan is yet another major recruiting coup for Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker, who has completely revamped the program since arriving in 2007.
It also helps that Harvard grad Jeremy Lin’s rise to stardom shows an NBA career can come out of attending an Ivy League. Edosomwan even taped a copy of Lin’s SI cover on his wall as motivation/proof that Ivy Leaguers can reach the NBA. (The other schools told Edosomwan, “No one makes it [to the NBA] from the Ivy League” while they were recruiting him.)
Edosomwan credits his mother’s independent spirit for driving his decision to go against the grain. She emigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria when she was 22 years old in order to find her “own way in the world.”
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