Ike Ready to Return
At this time last year Milton Academy’s Ikemefuna Ngwudo seemed to be on top of the world.
Coming off a summer trip to Russia with a team organized by USA Basketball, the rising junior forward was getting wide ranging recruitment and interest across a variety of division I leagues and looking forward to leading Milton Academy on a run for the NEPSAC Class A title.
His good fortune was unfortunately short lived however, as he suffered a fractured foot in Milton Academy’s first game of the 2011-2012 season. The nine months since have included a collection of MRI’s, rehab sessions, and failed comeback attempts.
His first comeback attempt came late in Milton’s regular season, when he took the court against St. Sebastian’s. It quickly became clear that the foot wasn’t fully healed so he opted to take some more time off before making another return in the team’s final regular season game of the year against Nobles.
Ngwudo’s only appearance on the AAU circuit took place at the Providence Jam Fest, where he gave the foot another try, but with unfortunately similar results.
“It wasn’t feeling good so I had to stop,” Ngwudo recalled. “I played throughout the tournament and was doing alright but after the games I’d feel a lot of pain.”
Shortly afterwards, a second MRI revealed that the bone in his foot had not fully healed, which meant Ngwudo’s spring was coming to a premature end and his summer was over even before it started.
“They gave me a bone simulator and put me back in the cast to allow it to heal,” he said, explaining that the bone simulator is a battery charged machine that sends electrical pulses through your bones to stimulate healing.
After spending the rest of the spring and summer working hard in rehab, Ngwudo’s most recent MRI showed enough progress so that he is able to get back on the court for some drill work and expected to be cleared for full contact five on five action in just a few weeks.
After spending the better part of the last year on the sidelines, Ngwudo is eager to get back on the court and help Milton Academy make a run in his senior season.
“Last year I wanted to win the whole thing and I was training hard all fall. Fracturing my foot the first game, it was really emotional,” he said. “My teammates held me up and I tried to become a little bit of an assistant coach.”
“This year I want to win the chip bad, so once I’m ready to go it’s going to be just basketball and school,” he said. “I just want to focus on my game and try to get stronger.”
On the recruiting front, Ngwudo’s once long list of suitors has steadily declined as he’s been on the sidelines, but he says two schools – Brown and Siena – have stayed in touch throughout the process.
“I’m welcoming all schools,” he said, “but I really paid attention to the schools that stuck with me.”
And New England better pay attention to Ike Ngwudo, who is getting healthier by the day and looks poised for a big comeback in his senior season.