BELOIT—Azeez Ganiyu figured it was time to get serious about his collegiate future.
No, he wasn’t thinking about buckling down and getting better grades. Those were always top-notch.
Instead, Ganiyu figured out during his junior season that his 6-foot-4 frame combined with terrific athleticism could lead to a future on the hardwood at the next level.
After dedicating himself and showing his vast potential his senior season at Beloit Memorial, Ganiyu recently selected Beloit College among a number of suitors as his next destination.
“They were the first school to offer me a spot on the team,” Ganiyu said. “I knew that they really wanted me to play there because they recruited me hard. They have a real family atmosphere with that program, and I’ve played in Beloit all my life.”
Ganiyu believes the Bucs are a program on the rise.
“I know some of the guys on the team now, and some of the guys they’ve got coming in,” Ganiyu said. “Even though their leading scorer graduated, I believe they have some people in their system that can step up and make big changes in their program.”
After averaging just four points per game during his junior season, Ganiyu said he had a decision to make.
“I didn’t start playing basketball until seventh grade,” Ganiyu said. “I mainly just did it for a few years to stay in shape for other sports. But during my junior year, I saw that this is something I could have a future in.”
Ganiyu said the work he put in between his junior and senior seasons was evident, and he ended up the squad’s second-leading scorer at over 10 points per game.
“I think my athleticism improved a lot,” Ganiyu said. “And along with that, I worked on my post game and my jump shot to get it to a point that I could compete on the floor.”
While Ganiyu’s focus shifted more to the basketball court, his parents stressed that his acaemics couldn’t be forgotten.
“That’s always been one of the most important things to my family,” Ganiyu said. “They’ve stressed the importance of having the best grades possible. In fact, my senior year my mom told me that if I didn’t have a 4.0 GPA that I couldn’t play basketball.
“That’s also one of the biggest reasons I’m going to Beloit College. They have great academics there. My mom tells me that basketball skills could come and go, but you’re always going to have your brain. Even if you get hurt on the court, you can still get the work done in the classroom.”
Ganiyu plans on majoring in biology, with eyes on eventually attending medical school and going into neuroscience.
For now, Ganiyu is distance learning like the rest of his classmates instead of earning his final varsity letter as a member of the track team.
“I’m just taking it one step at a time right now,” Ganiyu said. “I’m trying to manage just like everyone else is. It’s a weird situation that everyone is going through together. We’re going to be fine, but I think we’re going to have to get used to this, for at least the next couple of months.”