As basketball season approaches, eyes are on the Mercer Men’s Basketball team after their historical NCAA Tournament victory upsetting Duke last season. After losing a large class of seniors, a few key contributors remain on the team, including junior Ike Nwamu.
After shocking Mercer fans in the team’s premiere event Mercer Madness, high-flying Nwamu gained a lot of local and not so local attention. Fans across the country tuned into to watch Nwamu’s impressive dunks.
Last season was Nwamu’s first season competing for the Bears. His freshman year, he attended and played for Cleveland State, and he decided to transfer to Mercer for the next three years. Unfortunately, due to transfer rules, he was unable to compete in the 2012-2013 season but was able to make an impact in the 2013-2014 season.
Nwamu saw action in 35 of the Bear’s contests last season, receiving an average of just over 18 minutes per contest. He averaged 8.3 points per game and 2.9 rebounds. He broke double digit scoring in 14 games and reached his career high of 24 points, helping Mercer to defeat the Ole Miss Rebels.
In the upcoming season, Nwamu is looking to be a key contributor in the Bears success.
Nwamu was raised in Los Angeles but moved to North Carolina and attended high school there. Although he was raised in L.A., both his mother and father are from Nigeria. He is extremely immersed in the Nigerian culture, and it was a large part of his upbringing.
As a young athlete, Nwamu always looked up to Kobe Bryant.
“Growing up as a young kid in Los Angeles, naturally I wanted to be like him (Bryant), and just watching him play made me really want to be like him.”
Nwamu wears the number 10 because Bryant wore number 10 in the Olympics.
In his free time outside of basketball, Nwamu likes to chill and hang out with friends. He enjoys playing video games and listening to music.
“I like listening to all music, except country, I just can’t really get into it,” said Nwamu, “but I am not too big of a fan.”
Nwamu also enjoys reading a good book in his free time.
Nwamu has enjoyed his time at here as a member of the basketball team. He believes that it is a good fit for him both athletically and academically.
“I like Mercer, and I am more comfortable with this school than my previous university,” said Nwamu. “It reminds me of my high school, and I feel right at home here at Mercer.”
Nwamu says that his best memory at Mercer so far is playing in the NCAA tournament last season.
“It was nerve-racking at first especially because we were playing in Raleigh, which is close to where I live,” said Nwamu. “We were playing on a national stage in a huge stadium playing against Duke, the team I grew up wanting to play for. Although it was nerve-racking at first, we realized we were just as good as them and even better.”
Looking onward to next season, Nwamu describes his excitement of just being ready to play. “We have all started to step into our new roles because we had a lot of older guy graduate,” said Nwamu. “All of the returners are just trying to show the freshmen and transfers how we do it here at Mercer.”
With last year in mind, the Bears are looking to compete at a high level and do just as well. “We want to take last year and surpass it; we don’t want to be satisfied with what we did,” said Nwamu.
At Mercer, he is a communication studies major and a criminal justice minor. Nwamu hopes to someday play in the NBA after he is done playing for Mercer.