Moments before former Charlestown guard Akosa Maduegbunam signed a national letter of intent to play basketball for Penn State on Wednesday afternoon in the Townie's gymnasium, Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso explained when Maduegbunam should place the crisp new Penn State hat on his head as carefully as a clergy member telling a groom how to place the ring on his bride’s finger.
“I know, I’ve seen it on TV, I’ve just never been a part of it,” Maduegbunam told his old coach, surrounded by family, friends, classmates, and media members.
After averaging 22.3 points per game as a junior for the Townies, Maduegbunam decided to complete his senior year at Winchendon School despite receiving an athletic scholarship to Boston University. He repeated his sophomore year at Charlestown after transferring from Cushing Academy halfway through the year but was eligible to graduate from Charlestown after his junior year.
“We’re very proud of his accomplishments at Charlestown High school and we’re very proud that he has become a young man right in front of our eyes,” Cardoso said during the press conference. “I’ve known Akosa for a couple years now and one thing I can say is he’s a hard working student athlete. He cares about school as much as he cares about basketball and that’s what gives him an option to go to such a great school like Penn State University.”
Maduegbunam said it took a village to get him to this point.
“I want to thank everybody, my little brother, my older sister, all my aunts and uncles and all the male role models I had in life with my father passing early,” he said. “I thank Charlestown High for letting me play my game and being the student athlete I’ve always dreamed of becoming.
“Early in my career I had doubts of ever becoming a Division 1 basketball player but along the way I’ve always had big brothers in my life to build my confidence up, to help me realize I could go after whatever I want. It’s been a long time coming and I still have a long way to go.”
Maduegbunam’s mother, Gina Maduegbunam, said, “I’m really very happy today for my son, I’m very proud of him, he worked hard to be here and I wanted to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported him along the way.”
Akosa was also accompanied by his mentor Marques Simpson and Charlestown Headmaster Margaret Bledsoe.
“We’re very proud of Akosa and we’re very proud of our sports program and we’re very proud of the way we use sports as a way to be successful academically and to learn to be more successful in life,” Bledsoe said. “We’re looking forward to more signings in the future and we’re very happy about this one.”
During the press conference Maduegbunam was asked what his top three choices for colleges were.
“Penn State, Penn State, Penn State,” he said with his new hat firmly placed on his head.
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