Athlete of the Week: Co-captain Kuakumensah ’16 crushes Quakers with double-double

Sophomore posted 18 points, 10 boards, two blocks and two steals as Bears cruised past Penn

Sports Editor
Friday, February 21, 2014

Since earning a starting spot in his first collegiate game last year, Cedric Kuakumensah ’16 has made opponents think twice before taking the ball to the rim.

The 6-foot-9 forward blocked 66 shots in his first season, a school record and the all-time highest for a first-year in the Ivy League. His rim-protecting earned Kuakumensah Ivy Defensive Player of the Year last season, and he has not missed a bit in his sophomore campaign, notching 57 blocks thus far.

Kuakumensah showed he was more than just a swat-machine Saturday as he racked up 18 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Penn. Defensively, Kuakumensah added two blocks and two steals in the first half, carrying the Bears for the first 20 minutes of play. For his record-breaking shot-blocking and his double-double Saturday, The Herald has made Kuakumensah our Athlete of the Week.


Herald: How did you first start playing basketball?

Kuakumensah: I started playing basketball when I was in third grade. A couple of my teachers, and one of my friends told me I should try basketball, so I tried out for my elementary school team. I’ve been playing ever since.


What made you want to play college basketball at Brown?

It wasn’t until my junior year that the Ivy League started to seem so appealing to me. My coach at Saint Andrew’s (School) kept telling me that the Ivy League would be the perfect opportunity for me, and I could have a great balance between academics and athletics. I started looking into it, and I was amazed at what Brown could offer me.


How were you able to be so successful against Penn this weekend?

The guys on the Penn team were very, very big guys. I knew that trying to stand and jump with them wasn’t really going to work for me, so I tried to use my speed as much as possible. Then the guys on the team like (Sean McGonagill, Tavon Blackmon and Steven Spieth) put me in great positions to succeed. When I was open, they got the ball to me. Everyone was looking for me when I got hot.


You’re on pace to shatter the career shot-blocking record at Brown. What does something like that mean to you?

It’s good to know I’m on pace to shatter that, but if I could trade it all away for more wins, I would do that. I don’t necessarily look at the shot blocks, because blocking shots comes with a lot of fouls. It looks good that I’m blocking all these shots, but I have to fine-tune some things, because I’m also picking up a lot of fouls.


A couple times this year — and twice in the game against Penn — you have stepped out and knocked down some 17-foot jumpers. When did you start feeling comfortable adding that range to your game?

It’s something that I’ve really worked on in the summer. I was taking them earlier in the season, but they weren’t falling. Just recently I’ve been putting in a lot of time in the gym, getting up shots after practice with some guys.


What’s better: blocking a big shot or throwing down a dunk?

I think what’s most exciting for me is when I block a shot, and it leads to an easy two points for us. Blocking one out of the gym is fun, but at the end of the day, (the opponent) still (has) possession. So I like when I block shots that lead to baskets.