When the 2017/18 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) basketball season starts in five-months time, Western Oklahoma State College roster will have a Ugandan.
Mathew Ochieng, who joined the Western Oklahoma State College Pioneers early this year, will be playing the first of his two seasons.
The power forward who led in scoring (19.3 points per game) and rebounding (9.8 rebounds per game) at last year’s FIBA Africa U18 Championship in Kigali, Rwanda says he needed no introduction oh his arrival.
“When I arrived, my teammates asked for my name and in a blink of an eye, they had already gotten my profile. There was no need of introducing myself,” Ochieng told Kawowo Sports.
Western signs Mathew Ochieng (Uganda). The 6'7" power led the 2016 FIBA Africa under 18 Tournament in scoring 19.8 and rebounding 9.8. pic.twitter.com/xw0vQotBET
— Western Ok St Bball (@WOSC_Basketball) January 19, 2017
Currently in his redshirt year, the former KIU Titans player says he would have been played part of this season in which Pioneers finished with a 19-11 record in Region 2 and missed out to play at the National Championship.
“If I had reported last August, I would be playing but I reported when the season had already started,” he stated.
On the training regime, the 18-year-old said: “It’s tight. We have to master about 21 plays here which is a different case in Uganda where 3-4 plays are enough.
“Every session we have to run the plays and during scrimmage the coach call plays randomly to see who’s off guard.
“It’s tough but I’m fairing on well. I have played with such people before… I’m getting better day by day.”
Ochieng joined Claire Lamunu (Vanguard University) and Samuel Kalwanyi (Wayland Baptist University) as the most recent players to get basketball scholarships in American colleges.
Lamunu and the Vanguard Lions won the conference title and will play at the National Championship that starts this weekend.
Meanwhile, Wayland missed out qualifying for this year’s Nationals having qualified for the past three seasons.