UPDATE (5:49 PM)-
**Less than 12 hours after our interview last night, Lewis Djonkam offered his commitment to the Duquesne Dukes. At the time of our interview, Lewis did not have a clear cut leader, nor a planned commitment date. I reached out to the 6’9″ forward/center prospect and asked him what changed his mind since we spoke.
“Well, after I finished my interview with you, I called my mom and talked to her for a few hours about colleges. And really, when I took my visit to Duquesne, I just felt like I belonged there…It was my first visit so I didn’t want to base my decision off of that, but after listening to my mom, she told me to follow my heart. So I slept on that though, and woke up just feeling like there’s no point in waiting. Duquesne was the perfect fit for me.”
UPDATE (11:49 AM)-
**Lewis Djonkam has just committed to Duquesne. He is Jim Ferry’s 4th and final recruit in the Class of 2017.****
Jim Ferry and the University of Duquesne hosted Lewis Djonkam, a 6’9” 220-pound forward/center prospect, on an official visit this past weekend. Djonkam, a postgraduate player at Hargrave Military Academy, spoke to Pittsburgh Sports Now Monday evening concerning his first visit to Duquesne.
“It was great. I had a great time. I would evaluate it as a 9, because I went there, we went to the Cheesecake Factory—which is one of my favorite places to go to—I had a great time talking to the players and coaches. It was a great visit.”
The interaction between a recruit and his prospective coach is an integral portion of any official visit. Throughout his time at Duquesne, Djonkam had the opportunity to develop a relationship with head coach Jim Ferry.
“So far I think it’s a good player-coach relationship. I mean, he’s a great guy. He’s amazing. I can tell everyone at Duquesne is a family over there.”
One of the things that Coach Ferry has discussed with Lewis is that he already knows the exact role he intends for Lewis to assume, should he choose to attend Duquesne.
“My role will definitely be rebounding. I’m more of a hustle player, so that’s what they need right now, and that’s what they said my role will be.”
While the “role” is set, Ferry has yet to decide the position at which Djonkam will provide the rebounds. That detail does not bother him, though.
“I can play power forward or center; whatever gets me on the court. They haven’t said which one just yet. I’m fine with either one.”
Lewis Djonkam, originally from Springfield, Virginia, is currently enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy as a postgraduate player. After beginning his high school career at Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School, Lewis and his mother made the difficult decision to transfer schools midway through Lewis’ junior season. While O’Connell HS provided the superior environment for basketball, it lacked the educational support of local public school, West Springfield.
“It was a great experience at O’Connell. My game really developed there, but my grades weren’t where they should have been—and I needed extra help. And I just wasn’t getting it there,” said Djonkam. “Me and my mom talked about it, and I moved back to my public school, West Springfield.”
Education comes first for Djonkam and his mother, and West Springfield provided a better learning environment in their eyes. As it turns out, West Springfield also forced Lewis to develop in ways on the court that may not have been required at O’Connell.
“I’ve always been a vocal player, but at West Springfield they needed a leader, and that’s when I stepped out of my comfort zone.”
Lewis will play this season at Hargrave and enroll at the college of his choosing for the 2017 season. Although undecided on where he will play, Djonkam has established a clear cut top-3. But does Duquesne make the cut?
“Duquesne is definitely in my top 3. Duquesne is a great place.”
Toledo and Wofford, who have offered Lewis as well, round out his top-3. A few other universities, like UNC-Wilmington and Jacksonville, have expressed interest the young big-man without extending an offer. Djonkam intends on offering a pledge before National Signing Day, but cannot provide a definite date at this time.
“I do not know just yet. I do know I will be committing early, but I do not have a date set up just yet.”
Over the phone, Lewis Djonkam is very polite, well-mannered, and well-spoken. However, he insists that the university of his choosing will find that his on-court persona is quite different.
“They’re going to a loud basketball player. I’ll for sure definitely be the loudest person on the court. And they’re gonna have someone who plays their heart out. I leave everything I have on the court; I’m diving for loose balls, closing out, jumping, I’m doing everything—everything on defense. And an enthusiastic player.”
To conclude the interview, I asked Lewis if there was anything else that he would like the Duquesne fan base to know.
“I love the game of basketball. I mean, I’ve been playing basketball my whole life. My mom’s been paying for a lot of stuff, and I’m working hard to pay it off.”
So, Djonkam is a player who leaves it all on the court, values education, and appreciates his mother’s efforts? It sounds like Lewis is a player that Jim Ferry and his staff would be lucky to land.