Former Charlestown guard Akosa Maduegbunam will sign his letter of intent to play basketball at Penn State 2 p.m. Wednesday at Charlestown High School.
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.
"Charlestown is where I first got to display my talent, it’s basically where I got my confidence," Maduegbunam said about the signing being at Charlestown during a telephone interview on Monday afternoon.
Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso said Penn State asked to do the signing at Charlestown High, which Maduegbunam had no problem with.
"I'm the type of young man that family is everything," he said. "I'm blessed coach is back in my corner. He's great. He’s been to family events and I'm able to talk to him about anything."
Cardoso said Maduegbunam is proof that players can use the Boston City League to springboard into a Division 1 school. Cardoso also expects senior Rony Fernandes to earn a basketball scholarship.
"It also shows that they worked hard and are a prime example of a kid from the inner city that if they do what they have to do, you have an option in front of you," Cardoso said.
Even though he's not going to BU, Maduegbunam will still be playing for the Terriers' former coach, Pat Chambers, in Happy Valley. He said the fact that Chambers spent time in Boston will help ease his transition to a new school and environment.
"That makes everything so much easier," Maduegbunam said. "Coach Chambers, he's just the man. Having him there makes it a lot easier. If I'm home sick, we can probably talk about things.
"He has a lot of confidence in me and makes me confident."
Maduegbunam said he tries not to let the recent child sex abuse scandal in the Penn State football program distract him from his goals, but added that Chambers is the type of coach who can help heal the school's sports culture.
"I know that has nothing to do with the basketball program, people make jokes here and there but that’s not my focus," he said. "Everything else I have to minimize as just a distraction. I couldn't tell you more about it. All I know about Penn State is basketball and academics."
Between his mother subscribing to the Big 10 Network on Direct TV and watching ESPN3 online, Maduegbunam watched as much Penn State basketball as possible this winter. In addition to studying the Nittany Lions on TV, he said he also maintained a 3.0 grade point average at Winchendon and averaged 19 points per game.
On top of that, he said he also learned how to play within a system and to play team defense while at Winchendon.
"I took it as a job here in Winchendon," he said.
Penn State originally made him an offer last summer, according to Maduegbunam, but ended up not having a scholarship available in the Class of 2011 for him.
"Since I wasn't able to sign back in November I always thought April would never come," he said. "Now that the day is approaching I'm excited, I'm ready to get to work. It's just another step closer, just another checkpoint. I'm happy for the people who got to see me grow and for myself I just want to continue to grow and encourage others to push me anytime I seem misguided."
Maduegbunam said he'll always be willing to come back to talk to Charlestown High's teams to "let them know it is possible coming from the city of Boston. There are a lot of distractions and rough neighborhoods. But everything is possible if you put the time in."
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