We were extremely excited to hear about Clondalkin's Aidan Igiehon when we first saw his highlight reel back in November of last year, as the then 16-year-old stood at a commanding 6'9" and was dunking on fools in Rucker Park.
Then, a few weeks back when we checked in for an update on his progress having been identified as a potential college star, we were delighted to see he had received offers from massive schools such as Syracuse, Oklahoma, Xaiver, Texas A&M, and many more, the guy has over 20 Division I offers.
Igiehon is ranked #55 in the nation in terms of high school talent thanks to his performances for Woodmere Academy in New York, so not only is he expected to be a major player in college next year, but he is already being looked as a potential NBA big.
We don't get a lot of Irishmen in the NBA, so it's only natural for us to be a bit excited, but we've been wondering exactly how he ended up where he is considering he was living in Ireland and playing for the Dublin Lions only a few years back.
Turns out it all happened by chance after a tour to the states with his local team when he was 13, as he explained in an interview with HoopGroup.com:
You don’t typically see many kids from Ireland playing ball in the States, how’d you end up coming over to play?
It’s funny, I didn’t actually come over here to play ball. I came over here with my local team called Dublin Lions, they play ball, and I went to this Sixers camp – Philadelphia 76ers. I was 13, 6’5” – yeah, I was like tall and skinny…and then I was athletic and could dunk the ball. They were like “yo he’s 13?”, and then a lot of high schools came to see me. No one really helped me get over here. I just travelled with my team. I went from Philly to New York to visit my family, and then stayed a couple months, and then I was playing in the park with my Aunt – my Aunt’s daughter’s Coach is best friends with Dana [his coach at AAU level]. He set up a workout, and I’ve been with them ever since. Never thought about playing with anyone else.
Igiehon, who says his game is a mixture of Deandre Jordan and Anthony Davis, and revealed that he is being so heavily recruited because his GPA sits at an impressive 3.7, but he did also admit that he gets homesick 'all the time'.
Unfortunately for the GAA, who would presumably love to attribute his success to a 'GAA background', Aidan was a soccer player in his youth and credits his time spent in central midfield for his good footwork on the court.
Yeah, I actually started off playing soccer. I started playing ball when I was 12, but before that yeah – it was only soccer. So, I played center midfield – I started off playing right back, and right defensive mid. I wasn’t thinking about playing in college honestly, I didn’t even know about college athletics when I was younger.
I still play soccer for fun, like with my older brother. He’s 20. He’s playing semi-pro right now upstate. He plays in college, but he’s going to be a pro. It’d be cool for me to be able to play for the same school as my brother. I still work out like a soccer player.
Without wanting to put any pressure on his shoulders, it's so rare to see one of our own making such waves in US basketball and we're looking forward to cheering him on when he makes the jump to college ball.
From his interview it's absolutely clear that his feet are firmly on the ground and that he's hungy to keep on learning and developing, which is great to see, and you can read his interview in full over on HoopGroup.com.