Dunking, hustling Etunmu shining as underdog for Kempner
Kempner senior Bryan Etunmu is an underdog. It’s not a label he shies away from. He embraces it.
It inspires him.
“There’s other good players around Houston, but, not to take their skills down or anything, I feel like I’m better than some of those guys who are getting better scholarships than me,” Etunmu said. “So, I feel like that pushes me more to be the best.”
Etunmu doesn’t figure to be dunking under the radar much longer.
The rangy, bouncy 6-foot-6, 205-pounder is one of the top talents in the Greater Houston area few are paying attention to this season. Etunmu is averaging 17.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 assists per game for the 10-9 Cougars.
He is shooting 65 percent overall, including 36 percent from 3.
“I’m an underdog,” Etunmu said. “I’m grimy, and I feel like I surprise a lot of people when I’m on the court. My stock is up.”
Prospect Alert. Trust me coaches get some \u2019s on this kid. 6\u20197 Bryan Etumnu 2022 of @KempnerHoops 3.4 GPA\n30pts 14-19 FG\u2019s 1-1 3 8r 4s 3b in SZN opener. @djones8301 @GDayHoopScout @bigsloan32 @RcsSportspic.twitter.com/HYG0h7g5ty— Bobby Benjamin/Mr. Eyes (@Bobby Benjamin/Mr. Eyes) 1636938014
Indeed, Etunmu’s recruiting has seen an uptick—he holds an offer from East Central University, and DI programs like Air Force, Creighton and Tarleton State have started to show significant interest— because he is playing more with the ball in his hands and college recruiters are seeing him more as a wing/guard than the post/center he’s been for most of his high school career.
At his size, Etunmu is an interior threat at the high school level, but at the next level he will have to play more on the perimeter.
Etunmu is proving he can do that this year.
He has expanded his range to the 3-point line—he took, and made, just one 3-pointer his sophomore season and already has 12 3s made through 15 games this season, which ranks second on the team—and is making plays for others.
And he hasn’t lost the other qualities that initially made him special, like his ability to score anywhere within the 3-point line, especially on the block in the post and in the short corners.
“That’s me,” Etunmu said. “That’s my house, that’s my couch.”
Etunmu is a gifted, natural athlete. Dunking is his passion. His first dunk came at the end of his eighth-grade year, playing around in the gym after a weight room session.
“I told my coach I was going to try and dunk,” Etunmu recalled. “I just happened to do it. Everybody was there and watching, and there was so much energy. I charged up, dunked it. I never thought I’d even get close.”
His first varsity dunk came early during his sophomore season during a tournament at Dulles.
“I dunked on somebody. It was nice,” Etunmu said. “A poster for my first varsity dunk.”
The guys got district win number 1 last night thanks to huge plays like this!!\n+ ENERGY\n\n@callebkibrom @EtumnuBry_an \n@KempnerABC @KHS_Cougars @coachRob2324pic.twitter.com/lzBBfgNAYl— Kempner Hoops (@Kempner Hoops) 1638369548
And Etunmu isn’t all flash. He also has a flare for hustle.
He leads Kempner in deflections (28) and blocks (21) and is second in steals (26) and third in offensive rebounds (1.9 per game).
“I look at it like this: defense helps you win games, defense helps you get points, defense helps you push the ball, defense helps you do everything on the court,” Etunmu said. “If you can be successful at the grimy part of the game, the easy stuff will come later.”
Kempner has not made the playoffs since 2012. Over the last eight years, the Cougars have won 10 or more games in a season just four times.
Etunmu has already helped lead Kempner to 10 wins in the first 19 games this season. Now he’s ready to punch the Cougars’ ticket to the postseason.
“I want to make the playoffs,” Etunmu said. “I want to change the culture here, for my last season, especially so that the younger guys below me know what’s going on. I also want to get a DI scholarship. Those two things are my main goals this year.”