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Canes Hoops Player Profile: Ebuka Izundu

Three years as a role player have prepared the center for prime time

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Miami vs Loyola Chicago
Hurricanes forward Ebuka Izundu in action in the NCAA Tournament
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ebuka Izundu is ready.

The senior has become a key contributor to this team over the past three seasons. It is now time to make another step.

Over the last three campaigns— the center has gone from playing just over five minutes per game, as he did in 2015-16, to having four games in double figures last year. Each season, his output has increased along with his role.

He looks set to take a spot in the starting lineup in 2018-19, the same spot held by former players Izundu looked up to recently such as Tonye Jekiri and Kamari Murphy.

After his freshman year where he played sparingly, he upgraded his production level as a sophomore to four points and three rebounds per game, still as a bench player.

Last season—when he averaged five points and just under four rebounds per game— the Charlotte, NC native recorded his first double-double in the season opener against Gardner-Webb, scoring 14 points to go along with ten rebounds.

He also scored fourteen points in his first career start at Notre Dame, a big win that set the tone for the season’s home stretch.

The departures of Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown will see Anthony Lawrence II moved to a more guard-oriented role, opening up another role in the post for Izundu.

The idea in mind for Jim Larranaga this year may be a three-out two-in offense with plenty of high-low sets, as both Izundu and Dewan Hernandez are potent scorers near the basket.

Canes fans received a glimpse of how the two forwards can work together up at Chapel Hill last February, when Izundu and Hernandez (Then Huell) scored 12 and 14 points respectively. Miami won on a buzzer-beater by Ja’Quan Newton.

Izundu was originally committed to the UNC-Charlotte 49ers in high school, but was released from his scholarship shortly after a coaching change led him to reopen his recruitment.

The alum of Charlotte’s Victory Christian School was born in Nigeria, before coming to America and taking up basketball.

Izundu was also named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll last season.