Vincent Iwuchukwu left Las Vegas as one of the most impressive players from the entire camp.
Participating in the Pangos All-American Camp this past week, Iwuchukwu (“Ee-wuh-choo-kwoo”) came to the event as a four-star big from the class of 2022 with some question marks surrounding his ranking. The 7-foot, 230-pound big man out of San Antonio, TX, has been viewed as raw potential, but he put it all together over the course of three days in Vegas.
After four games played leading up to the All-Star Game, which he was named a member of, Iwuchukwu finished as the leading scorer among all 105 campers in attendance at 21.8 points per outing. When he left, there was no denying his potential as a star at the next level.
KSR caught up with Iwuchukwu on Tuesday morning, just ahead of the All-Star Game that would close out the event. He spoke briefly about his recruitment by Kentucky, which is being facilitated by Wildcat assistant coach Jai Lucas, a native of Texas. Iwuchukwu told KSR that Lucas has been in touch with him ever since the latter was coaching at Texas and that has continued at Kentucky. Prior to that, former Kentucky assistant Joel Justus first initiated interest in the fall of 2019.
“It’s pretty mutual,” Iwuchukwu told KSR about his contact with Kentucky right now. “We talk to the coaches a little bit, just on how everything has been going since they started recruiting me last year. It’s been–just like a lot of other colleges–seeing how you’re doing day-to-day and seeing where we’re at college-wise and recruiting-wise.”
As of right now, Iwuchukwu only has one official visit scheduled for this summer and that is to see Baylor on June 17th. The Bears are currently perceived as the favorite to land him, as well. Don’t expect Kentucky or any other school to join that list until the fall, though.
“I have an official to Baylor on the 17th (of June) and that’s the only official I plan on taking this summer,” Iwuchukwu said. “Mainly because I want to take officials to schools when there are people on campus, so I can have the full feel and the full experience to see how everything really is. Baylor is close to home so that’s why it’s the official I’m taking this summer.”
Tipton Edits reported on May 24 that Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Arizona State, USC, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Baylor, and Florida State were the schools recruiting him the hardest. We can go ahead and another west coast school to that group as well. Gonzaga is also recruiting Iwuchukwu heavily, he told KSR.
After his stellar run at the Pangos All-American Camp, expect the interest from across the country to grow. Iwuchukwu now plays his high school basketball at the popular La Lumiere High School up in northern Indiana. On that team are several other top-rated recruits, including J.J. Starling (4-star PG), Chisom Okpara (3-star SF), Jeremy Fears Jr. (4-star PG), and Kebba Njie (3-star PF). He’ll have plenty of opportunities for more exposure heading into his senior year of high school. If his scoring stretch in Vegas was any indication of what the next year will be like, his four-star status could very well receive a bump by the time it’s all said done.
Iwuchukwu didn’t even realize he was the camp’s top scorer until the morning of the final day. He’s clearly capable of putting the ball in the basket, but it’s not exactly something he is constantly focusing on.
“I didn’t know I was the leading scorer until this morning and I didn’t really think I was because there’s a lot of really good guards here that can score and a lot of bigs that can score here,” Iwuchukwu told KSR. “I thought I was in the middle of the pack in that regard. I don’t really pride myself on scoring. I just try to win, try to get my teammates involved in everything I do, whether it be bounce passes, catching and finding cutters, I pride myself more on that than I do scoring. And defensively, playing as hard as I can, trying to get stops and get blocks and rebounds. Scoring is the afterthought and for me to be the leading scorer is pretty cool.”
Not only did he lead the camp at nearly 22 points per contest, but Iwuchukwu also did so on 58 percent overall shooting (35-60) in addition to 9.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks. Even more impressive? He was a perfect 15-15 from the charity stripe across four games.
Sporting tree trunks for legs, Iwuchukwu could bully almost anyone he went up against inside the paint but also showcased the ability to step outside the paint and knock down shots from distance. His feet move swiftly on both ends of the floor and he is quick to jump off the hardwood for a rebound or blocked shot attempt. He has an NBA-ready body right now, similar to that of fellow high school centers Jalen Duren and Adem Bona.
With COVID-19 impacting how often scouts and coaches could watch him play in person the previous year-plus, Iwuchukwu was eager to show off his improving face-up game, which he spent a good chunk of that time working on.
“My face-up game,” Iwuchukwu said about what he’s improved the most. “I be scoring a lot easier out of my face-up game and I think that’s one thing I didn’t really have before COVID started and after COVID it’s improved tremendously… That and just having a consistent shot, trying to be as efficient as possible. Those are the two things I can definitely say I’ve improved upon since COVID.”
After watching him play for three days, he sure wasn’t lying. Old scouting reports across the internet posed some questions about his consistency, but there were zero issues of that in Vegas. Iwuchuwku said this was the biggest event he’s participated in since COVID-19 hit the United State, so it’s no wonder that he looks like a different player than when most people last saw him.