City of London Academy and Southwark Pride’s Ladun Akako has signed for NCAA Division II Barry University on a full athletic scholarship.
The 5ft 11″ Forward becomes the fifth player from CoLA’s Class of 2017 group heading to the USA and will be joining fellow UK player Harriet Swindells at Barry.
We got a chance to check in with Ladun to find out more.
How does it feel to get a USA scholarship?
It feels amazing! Not many people are blessed with an opportunity to earn a free education whilst getting to play in the US, and I’m really grateful for this opportunity.
How did the process go of finding a school in the USA?
Finding a school which was the right level and fit for me was a long and hard process. Attending AAU two years in a row was a big help and very informative for me, opened my eyes as how much better players are over there. I had numerous phone and Skype calls with different coaches at varying levels, coach told me to be open minded, not limit my options and open my eyes to all levels high and low. I had a lot of interest from mid major to D2 schools and through this I became very comfortable with the coaching staff at Barry in particular, feel thats a good level for me to contribute at. They were also very consistent with me for a sustained amount of time whilst I made my decision which made me feel like they were genuinely interested in me.
What are your goals now at Barry University?
My goals are to grow as a person and player, as well as trying new things and gaining new life experiences. Barry is an amazing academic institution, so I’m very confident that it is the best place to set me up for my future through hard work and dedication. Living in Florida will be a new experience, the weather will be great and I hope to adjust to the culture. Most importantly my goal is to help BU to success on the basketball court and that’s what I’m so excited about
If there’s one piece of advice you could give younger players hoping for this opportunity what would it be?
My advice would be to broaden their horizons, and not be afraid to try new things such as going to academies which aren’t as established as some which have been around for years. I had to spend three years at CoLA, which wasn’t what I initially planned, but through listening and trusting my head coach Jackson Gibbons, it worked out for me in the end. More players need to put themselves in situation which are conducive to their future goals.
And finally, anyone you want to thank.
I would like to give a massive shoutout to Coach Jackson, who has constantly held me to a standard which sometimes I didn’t believe I could achieve, it’s allowed me to be the person I am today. What he has taught me is bigger than basketball, and he is a very special coach who does not get enough credit for what he does for players, he always deflects the credit to others. My three years at CoLA have been amazing, this last year being such a special year, and this is all thanks to him.
I would like to thank Coach Steve for helping me with my mixtape, and guiding me for the short time he was with Southwark Pride. I didn’t know how to take it when he said he was first coming to help out, having him was amazing. You have definitely been missed since you left!
I would like to thank Coach Sterling, and all the other coaches involved with Southwark Pride, who collectively guide many players like myself to success in life. Southwark Pride is a special club, and I’m so glad that I was apart of the journey!
Lastly my teammates, my sisters, what we have been through the past three years is the best thing I’ve ever been involved with, if College is half the experience we’ve had then I can’t wait.
We want to wish Ladun all the success in the USA.