Senior Godwin Okonji was a soccer player first, then at 17 he found basketball. But his first sport is still dear to his heart.
At just under seven-feet Patson Siame looms large no matter the country.
From two different countries, Spain made them teammates for the first time, now both find themselves back in Spain with the Lions.
Two months ago, Joshua Spiers had left his home country of Australia. Since, it has been a whirlwind, including day five in Spain.
LMU Congratulates 85 student-athletes who graduated on Saturday.
The smile says it all. Fifth-year Godwin Okonji loves his football. And take him to Europe, put him in a soccer stadium, and his face will light-up about as much as when he takes the court for the LMU men's basketball team. The Nigerian talked to LMU Sports Network while visiting one of the most famous soccer venues in the world.
Showing its reach across the globe, LMU continued its tour while sending back some well wishes as they spent their final day in Madrid before flying to Barcelona on Sunday morning. The Lions had a full pre game practice, followed by the coaches participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. They then took on the Angola National Team, who is participating in the upcoming FIBA World Championships in Spain.
LMU men's basketball was on the road for a month and returned home this week for the first time since Nov. 17. In addition to home games, the Lions were able to get back to action in the community as well, with the community outreach program LMU Cares picking back up on Monday at Franklin D. Parent School in Inglewood.
WCC Second Round Press Conference after LMU's 61-60 overtime win over San Francisco
KXLU 88.9 FM Broadcast from Las Vegas and 2013 WCC Championships of the Opening Round game between LMU and Portland
Day 10 for LMU men's basketball in Barcelona Spain, a 97-52 win for the Lions over mixed Barcelona team.
LMU's ninth day in spain featured a trip to Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona.
Game three for LMU's 2014 Spain Tour, a 97-75 win over a mixed all-star team from Barcelona, Spain.
Day six featured the second game, this one coming against the Angola National Team.
Photos from the Lions full day, including tour of Madrid.
BRIEFLY... Godwin Okonji served a medical redshirt in 2013-14 and enters his fifth and final season as a Lion having played 96 games in his career...
RECORDS... CAREER... ranks ninth all-time heading into final season with a field goal percentage of 54.4 (168-309)... Ranks eighth with 88 career blocks, ranking ninth with 0.9 bpg... SEASON... finished junior season hitting 57.1 percent from field, ranked 13th at LMU... ranked 13th with 30 blocks as a sophomore in 2011-12... ranked 3rd all-time among freshman with 152 rebounds in 2010-11... finished 2010-11 season shooting 57.3 percent from the field, which ranks 12th all-time at LMU for a season... 38 blocks in 2010-11 ranks tied for sixth all-time for a single season... 1.2 blocks per game as a freshman is ranked ninth...
HIGHLIGHTS AT LMU...
IN 2012-13 JUNIOR... Played in 32 of the Lions' 34 games, earning 16 starts while averaging 21.2 minutes per contest... an emergency Laparoscopic Appendectomy on the evening Dec. 12 caused him to miss the two games... he returned against Morgan State on Dec. 27, just 15 days after surgery... It was been a tough season for Okonji, whose father passed away in Africa at the start of the season in November... Okonji has been a defensive center piece for the Lions, adding 20 blocks to his resume, including three against BYU. He now has 88, ranked fifth all-time at LMU... finished averaging 4.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.63 blocks per game... was ranked 14th in the WCC in blocks per game...
IN 2011-12 SOPHOMORE... Ended season averaging 3.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 0.91 blocks per game... added 27 steals to his 30 blocks... finished season ranked seventh in the WCC in blocks (0.9 bpg), 18th in rebounding (4.6 rpg), and 14th in offensive rebounds (1.9 orpg)... played in 33 of the 34 games on the season, earning 31 starts... shooting 47.9 percent from the field... went for 14 points and seven rebounds in win at Idaho State (11/23/11) and then added 10 points and six rebounds against Northern Arizona the next game (11/26/11)... had four points, four blocks and nine rebounds in win at Pepperdine (1/12/12)... went for 10 points, nine rebounds, two steals, a block and an assists in the win at Portland (2/9/12)... had seven points, four rebounds in win over No. 16 Saint Mary's (2/15/12)... had seven rebounds against CS Fullerton (3/14/12) and also Utah State (3/21/12) in the CIT tournament... added four blocks in the three postseason games.
IN 2010-11 FRESHMAN... finished season playing in 31 of the 32 games, starting 24 as a true freshman... averaged 22.9 minutes per games and finished averaging 4.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest... finished ranked 15th in the WCC in rebounds, and third with 1.2 blocks per game (38 on the season)... started career with seven points, eight rebounds, four blocks, three steals and an assist against Morgan State (11/12/10). It was one of the best debuts for a freshman, earning a first-game record of nine rebounds, tied the record for steals and set the record for blocks... Had five points and 10 rebounds against La Sierra (11/14/10)... grabbed seven rebounds against Bradley (11/17/10), adding six points on 3-for-3 shooting in the process... made first career start against Dowling (11/20/10), going for eight points and six rebounds... played 37 minutes against Long Beach State (11/27/10), going for four points, three rebounds and three blocks in win... scored eight points, with eight rebounds and a pair of blocks in 35 minutes in win over Cal Poly (12/4/10)... went for 11 points, five rebounds, six blocks, an assist and a steal in win over Sacramento State (12/7/10). The six blocks was one shy of the school record set by Selvester Kainga on Dec. 2, 1998 against Cal State Fullerton... had four points, six rebounds, three assists and a block against Florida State (12/18/10)... had eight points, seven rebounds and an assist at South Dakota (12/22/10)... did not play against Gonzaga due to broken nose suffered against Portland (1/13/11)... had eight rebounds with three points and a pair of blocks against USF (1/27/11)... had four points, three rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 23 minutes at Saint Mary's (2/5/11). It was his ninth game with two or more blocks on the year... went for eight points and eight rebounds against Portland (2/12/11)... averaged 6.5 rebounds in trip to Bay Area to end regular season... added three blocks and three steals... had a career-best 11 rebounds in win over Portland (3/4/11) in WCC tournament...
PRIOR TO LMU... He is a native of Nigeria and graduated from Henderson International High School in Henderson, Nev., before moving cross town to play for Findlay Prep. He was a key player for a Findlay program that won a pair of ESPN Rise national crowns, including in 2009 when the team went unbeaten and finished No. 1 in several of the national polls. Okonji averaged 8.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in his last season and was part of a program that went 97-3 during his three years in Henderson. The 20-year-old chose LMU over Hawaii, Texas Tech, TCU, and New Mexico. "Godwin has the skill set and size to really make an impact in the West Coast Conference," said Good. "He gives us great size and added depth to our roster."
PERSONAL... Godwin Chukwuemeka Okonji was born in Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria, on June 7, 1990. He is the son of Joy and Stephen Okonji. He was a student ambassador in high school. He is an Urban Studies major.