June 14, 2011
NEW VIDEO BLOG: "The Eye Of The Storm": STJ Basketball: Junior God'sgift Achiuwa
QUEENS, N.Y. -
For St. John's basketball fans, God'sgift has arrived.
Junior big man God'sgift Achiuwa, a 6-9, 240-pound bruising JUCO All-American from Port Harcourt, River States, Nigeria via Erie Community College (N.Y.), is now in his third week on campus, attending St. John's Summer I classes. Several members of head coach Steve Lavin's consensus No. 3 recruiting class are expected to join their new teammate when Summer II classes begin in July.
"It's been a very nice experience transitioning from junior college to a four-year college. I really enjoy it down here so I feel very appreciative to be in this kind of environment," said Achiuwa. "The campus is kind of empty. You don't have too many people taking summer classes so it's kind of good. You can study and it's kind of quiet, but there are also good things about it because you are a little bit more focused on academics."
Achiuwa excelled academically at Erie as an international student. Earlier this month, it was announced that Achiuwa was one of 16 Erie student-athletes named to the 2010-11 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III All-Academic Team. A final JUCO athletic honor came on Monday, when Achiuwa was honored as the Western New York Athletic Conference Senior Male Athlete of the Year in a vote at the league's meetings.
Achiuwa, a 2011 first team NJCAA All-America and two-time selection overall, led Erie Community College to a 28-4 record in 2010-11 and a fourth place finish in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Tournament. The NJCAA Region III Player of the Year and Region III Tournament Most Valuable Player ranked ninth in the NJCAA in scoring at 22.3 points per game, 10th in rebounding with 11.7 boards and 17th in blocks with 2.2 rejections per contest. As a sophomore, he shot 56.0 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from 3-point range, scored 32 or more points in four outings and netted 39 points against Monroe C.C. on Feb. 8, 2011. As a freshman in 2009-10, he helped lead Erie to a 27-2 record and averaged 13.1 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game en route to earning 2010 NJCAA third team All-American and Region III Co-Player of the Year honors.
God'sgift (20) is the third of six children born to Eunice and Donatus Achiuwa, a minister, of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He has one older brother, Promise, and two younger brothers, God'swill and Precious. He also has one older sister, Grace, and one younger sister, Peace.
The 2011-12 St. John's squad will feature the consensus No. 3 recruiting class in the nation, but will be the youngest in 104 years on the STJ hardwood and will rank among the youngest in NCAA Division I history. With one returning scholarship letterwinner in junior Malik Stith, the Red Storm will feature at least nine newcomers, a group comprised of seven freshmen, one sophomore and one junior. STJ will look to its highly-rated 2011-12 recruiting class to assist in replacing 96.3 percent of its scoring and 97.8 percent of its rebounding in the coming season.
The first year of The Lavin Era included a 21-12 overall record in 2010-11, marking St. John's most wins since the 2002-03 season, with six Top 25 victories and four over Top 10 opponents. The USBWA District II Coach of the Year, Lavin transformed a team that finished in 13th place in the BIG EAST Conference last season at 6-12 to a squad that tied for third this year at 12-6 - only twice before has a jump of such magnitude occurred in BIG EAST Conference history. The Red Storm finished its season ranked 18th in the Associated Press Top 25, marking the first time it qualified for the postseason as a ranked team since 2000-01. The Red Storm, which posted a 7-1 record in eight games at Madison Square Garden (capacity: 19,353) and a 5-2 record on campus at Carnesecca Arena (capacity: 5,602) saw its home attendance climb by 38.1 percent, marking the fourth-largest increase in NCAA Division I men's basketball.
Quoting St. John's Junior God'sgift Achiuwa:
On his experience at St. John's so far:
"It's been a very nice experience transitioning from junior college to a four-year college. I really enjoy it down here so I feel very appreciative to be in this kind of environment."
On his summer classes at St. John's:
"For now, I am taking theology and accounting, so those are great classes and I like them. I am doing well in those classes."
On his campus experience over the summer:
"The campus is kind of empty. You don't have too many people taking summer classes so it's kind of good. You can study and it's kind of quiet, but there are also good things about it because you are a little bit more focused on academics."
On working out and the facilities:
"I really enjoy the facilities. I work out every day after my classes. I like the facilities and I think I am going to get better as the days go by."
On seeing the St. John's coaching staff in their offices every day:
"It is a very nice experience being around these great coaches with great minds and I am very happy to be around them. I am learning a lot from them, so I am taking advantage of the opportunity to be around them."