When John Emezie was preparing for his senior season at Marvin Ridge, he knew he would have to get better.While the 6-foot-6-inch, 210-pound Maverick forward was already a big piece to the puzzle – averaging 18 points and nine rebounds as a junior – his team lost eight seniors, including 66 percent of its scoring from a year ago.Emezie has stepped up, averaging 31.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per game and leading the Mavericks to a 6-1 start through Dec. 16.Even Marvin Ridge basketball coach Gosnell White is a bit surprised at what Emezie has done so far.“John is really doing it all this season,” said White, who is in his seventh year as the Mavericks’ head coach. “Even though I watched him grow over the past four years, what he is doing right now is kind of mind-boggling. I’ve been coaching for 37 years and I’ve never had a guy average 30 points per game. It’s not a selfish 30 points, he is creating opportunities and finding his teammates, too.”Emezie says his numbers aren’t important as long as his team is winning.“I knew I had to step up this year and, honestly, I just want to do whatever it takes to win games,” Emezie said. “If that means scoring 40 points, I’ll do that. If it means getting 20 assists, than I will go and try to get 20 assists.”Emezie has been consistent all year, with his season low coming against Charlotte Country Day, when he “only” had 23 points. But he also had 10 rebounds and seven assists and says that was likely his best game of the year.The Marvin Ridge senior also had 30 and 33 points in two games against Nation Ford, 38 points and 12 rebounds against Forest Hills, 28 against Central Academy and a season-high 44 points against Central Cabarrus, where he poured in nine three-pointers.Emezie is shooting 48 percent from three-point range (25-of-52), 50 percent from the field overall and 91 percent from the foul line (75-of-82).“I feel like that Central Cabarrus game (44 points) really gave me a lot of confidence in my shot,” Emezie said. “But overall, I don’t really feel any different than I ever do. Honestly, I always feel like every shot is going in. I think that’s what you have to believe.”Another big reason why Emezie is so effective is because he is what White calls, “a matchup nightmare.” He can play outside when teams put a bigger defender on him, often making them uncomfortable. When teams try to match Emezie with a guard, he goes inside where he can also score with his back to the basket. He’s also been able to get to the free-throw line, averaging 12 trips per game this season.“John is really a tough matchup for most high school players,” White said. “He is a very smart player, too, and he knows when to take advantage of his different skills.” Emezie, who has a 4.55 grade-point average, has committed to attend and play for the United States Military Academy at West Point.Emezie will attend the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School next year to get ready for his college career following the same path as former Maverick teammate Taylor Neal, former Charlotte Catholic forward Mark Pollack, and ex-Northside Christian forward Luke Morrison. A fifth Charlotte-area native, Davidson Day’s Richard Brown, is already on the Army roster.Emezie’s older brother, K.C. Emezie (2011 Marvin Ridge grad), is now playing basketball at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). His younger brother, Emeka, is a 6-foot-3-inch freshman on the Maverick basketball team.“I’m really excited about going to West Point,” said Emezie, who will have a five-year commitment to the Army after his four years in college. “I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I know it will all be good for me in the long run.”Emezie says he plans to major in exercise science and hopes to have a career in sports medicine.Emezie is also making sure to enjoy his final months at Marvin Ridge.He hopes to help lead his Maverick team to a second straight Southern Carolinas conference title. “Right now, we’re focused on winning the Christmas tournament (Holy Angels tournament at Charlotte Catholic and Charlotte Latin), because we lost to Catholic in the finals last year,” said Emezie. “Then, we want to beat Weddington and win our conference and get to the playoffs. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do to get there.”
Friday, Dec. 20, 2013
Marvin Ridge’s John Emezie is “doing it all this season” for the Mavericks
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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