July 12, 2010
In summer league last year, Ibekwe made a name for himself when he made a game saving block for a Raptors win, but landing badly on his neck in the process and not playing again. He suffered no long term side effects, however, and was back after a few weeks. Ibekwe initially had trouble getting work, being released by Turkish team Kepez Bld Antalya in preseason, and later having an unsuccessful tryout in Iran of all places (as did Othella Harrington, of all people). He finally found work in the Turkish second division, playing for a team called Genc Banvitliler and averaging 21.2ppg, 10.6rpg, 1.2apg, 2.2spg and 2.1bpg, shooting 56% from the field and 39% from three. The Turkish second division is not good, but those numbers are.
Ibekwe graduated from college as an athlete, shotblocker and dunker, who had no offensive finesse. He couldn't shoot or dribble, finish against size, or post-up, and turned it over way too much. Those things are still true, but he has bulked up and improved his shot over time
March 18, 2010
- Ekene Ibekwe
Maryland graduate Ibekwe was having a good summer league for the Toronto Raptors this year, until he hurt his neck on a fall after performing a game saving block on a Goran Dragic layup. Mercifully, it looked worse than it was, and Ibekwe suffered no permanent damage.
Ibekwe initially returned to Turkey to play for Kepez Bld Antalya, but he was waived before the season began. Later on came a tryout with Iranian team Petrochimi, but that also didn't turn into a permanent gig, and Ibekwe remained unsigned. Finally, in mid-January, Ibekwe was able to hook onto another Turkish team called Genc Banvitliler. It's quite the coup for Genc; Ibekwe was one of the best players in Turkey last year, averaging 19/8/2/2 for Mutlu Aku Selcuk Universitesi Konya and being named a Turkish league all star. But strangely, Genc Banvitliler are a Turkish second division team. I am not sure of the reason why Ibekwe has had to (or chosen to) drop down a division. Nevertheless, he is inevitably beasting there, averaging 20.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.1 blocks in only 29 minutes per game.
December 19, 2009
Sticking with the Asia theme, in non-Chinese world news, Ekene Ibekwe (of Maryland and Raptors summer league fame) has signed in Iran with a team called Imam Harbour, and former Bulls and Suns camp invitee Jeff Varem has also signed in Iran with Saba Mehr. There, he will replace Priest Lauderdale, as the world's tallest Bulgarian is currently injured.