Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography.
By David Cordova
For the last few years, Aidan Igiehon has not only been a fast learner on the basketball court, but also in the classroom and in terms of life. That’s how it is when you’re coming from a foreign country and into a strange land. In the present day, he’s a high school senior that is bound for the University of Louisville and has skills that can take him far, on and off the court.
The 6-foot-10 power forward is as strong as an ox and throws down powerful dunks, and can haul down rebounds and block shots with the best of them. Off the court, he is a model scholar and a player who has plenty of intelligence. He is the type of player that any coach would want in their program, because he represents himself in the right way.
When asked what motivates him to be successful on the court, he replied, “Pretty much, the whole nation of Ireland, and you know, my mom obviously, taking care of me and my brother all this time, so one day I want to be able to take care of my mom in the future.”
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Igiehon began to play the game at the age of 12. When asked about basketball and the culture of his native homeland, he replied, “The culture is very different from here in the [United] States, everything’s faster, everything’s bigger. Ireland is a lot smaller and subtle, even the culture of basketball is different, you know, not everybody plays basketball over there, it’s like the second or third sport, there’s rugby and then there’s soccer, so that’s another main thing. I think basketball is overlooked over there.”
On June 28th, 2014, he moved to the United States and settled in New York with relatives, and then that’s when the basketball wave for him began. When asked about how it’s been being in America for the last five years, he replied, “It’s been kind of crazy, everything’s been moving so fast, you know, I was forced to become a man at a young age. You know, I came here at 13, 14 years old, and it’s pretty crazy. But it’s been a blessing, I had the opportunity to push myself in the game [of basketball] and academically, so it’s been amazing.”
Igiehon plays his high school basketball at Lawrence Woodmere Academy, a K-12 private school with an enrollment of 300 students in Woodmere, New York, which is a town in the Nassau County section of Long Island. When asked about the school, he replied, “Lawrence Woodmere Academy is different from every other school, it’s not a basketball factory, [it’s] high academics, so you know, I was kind of hidden for a long time [in terms of exposure]. It’s pros and cons, ‘cause here I’m pushed to play more than my role and the cons of it is that it’s such a small school and I’m not seen that much.”
On the process of going from unranked to a national prospect, he added: “A lot had to go into it, God blessed me physically to be able to stand out, and then in the game of AAU, so I had opportunities to play in the Nike EYBL and then play later on the Under Armour circuit.”
In the summer of 2017, he played on the premier grassroots circuit in the nation, the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, which is commonly referred to as the EYBL. Playing with the New York Lightning, he averaged 6.2 points and 4.9 rebounds in 21 games.
Last summer, he made the move to the Under Armour Association circuit, and played with Team Rio National, a New Jersey-based program that is sponsored by former Kansas star and NBA player Mario Chalmers. With Team Rio, he averaged 9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 12 games.
When asked about playing on both circuits, he replied, “I mean, it’s been a blessing to play for both. Both [are] elite programs. New York Lightning being on the Nike circuit, you know that’s the best, best circuit in the country. And then to play with Team Rio alongside other five-stars was a great opportunity.”
On the high school scene, Igiehon has helped Lawrence Woodmere tremendously. Last season, as a junior, he averaged 16.7 points per game as he led the Tigers to a 20-6 record, a New York State Association of Independent Schools title and also an appearance in the New York State Federation Tournament in the Class B division.
This season, he has doubled his performance, as he is averaging 24 points per game and has led the Tigers to a 22-4 record, and a No. 7 ranking in the state, and just recently, the team won their third straight NYSAIS title and is awaiting another appearance in the state Federation Tournament, which takes place later this month at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York.
After being recruited by a large amount of schools including Oregon, St. John’s and Kentucky, the decision came in mid-October, when Igiehon, who is rated as the No. 36 recruit in the Class of 2019 by ESPN, committed to the University of Louisville.
When asked what made him decide to go to the ACC school, he replied, “Oh, it’s great. You know, me, Coach [Chris] Mack, Luke Murray, their fans and the rest of the coaching staff, when I was on campus, I felt at home. So, it was kind of a no-brainer for me, playing in the ACC, and them having the blueprint to me hopefully becoming a pro one day.”
At the present time, Igiehon is one of six signed recruits coming in. The other five are point guard David Johnson (Louisville, Kentucky), shooting guard and McDonald’s All-American Samuell Williamson (Rockwall, Texas), shooting guard Josh Nickelberry (Fayetteville, North Carolina), forward Jae’lyn Withers (Huntersville, North Carolina) and Quinn Slazinski (Houston, Texas).
When asked what he plans to bring to Louisville and the ACC, he replied, “I mean, Aidan Igiehon, I view myself as one of the best rebounders in the country, so I’m definitely going to bring to the ACC my rebounding, my versatility on offense and defense, you know, and I’m going to be a great teammate also.”
Now that he’s a senior, his main goal is to get back to Glens Falls and avenge the loss to Fannie Lou Hamer, the eventual state Federation champions from The Bronx. Asked about his senior season thus far, he replied, “My senior season is great. I’m averaging about 27 points and 19 rebounds, so I’m getting pushed here a lot, I’m carrying a lot of weight, which I think in the end, makes me a better player. I’m getting older, I’m 18 years old now, so my body is filling out, I’m getting a little stronger, so now I can do more than I could last year. I plan on becoming a state champion.”
What’s next for Aidan Igiehon? “Next for me now is to become a stronger, better, faster, get ready for the next level next fall.”
In two more months, he will earn his high school diploma. In about eight months, he will be playing in his first collegiate game for Louisville. After this month, he will bid farewell to high school ball and look forward to the next level: college basketball. He will be looking forward to playing on ESPN and playing in large venues such as the Cardinals’ own KFC Yum Center, and also on the road at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York and Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Very soon, the world will get acquainted with the name Aidan Igiehon.