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Star senior center, KU commit, prepares for greater impact in final season

Senior Chisom Ajekwu goes up for a strong lay in against Free State at the City Showdown last year. The Lady Lions won the game, hosted at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 15.

Addison Thornsbury

Senior Chisom Ajekwu goes up for a strong lay in against Free State at the City Showdown last year. The Lady Lions won the game, hosted at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 15.

By Gary Schmidt, Editor-in-Chief

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Before she had ever set foot in Lawrence High, Chisom Ajekwu was already being pursued by multiple colleges.

It’s hard to believe that a sport she admittedly hated at first is now the one propelling her into a planned college career at the University of Kansas.

“At first I hated it a lot,” Ajekwu said. “I remember the first practice, all the girls were better than me. I remember feeling very self conscious. I was obviously taller than everyone. It felt really weird to me, but my parents keep pushing me to do it, and eventually I started to like it.”

Standing at 6 foot, 3 inches, Ajekwu has been an intimidating presence since she first picked up a basketball. However, it wasn’t until recently that Ajekwu truly learned how to use her frame to her advantage.

“I have [learned ] a lot [from] role models like Elena Delle Donne,” Ajekwu said. “I just use my body and positioning to my advantage.”

A key component in her development has been the relationship she has forged with head coach Jeff Dickson. According the Ajekwu, her close bond with him has helped her mature as both a basketball player and a human.

“Coach Dickson is kind of like a second dad to me,” Ajekwu said. “Immediately when I got into high school we had a really tight bond. He’s the kind of coach you would tell anything to. If I need anything, I go to him. He’s an amazing coach in so many ways.”

Being so close with Dickson has provided Ajekwu with a support system under which she has grown, but more importantly has taught her how to take things more seriously.

“As a freshman I didn’t take being a basketball player seriously,” Ajekwu said. “Being in this program at LHS forced me to evolve as a player, made me mature more, understand my responsibilities better, and become a better teammate and person in general.”

Ajekwu has been a starter since her freshman year, but this year, she is prepared to carry a new load for the team. After the graduation of All-State guard E’Lease Stafford, Ajekwu is prepared to be the new go-to scorer of the team.

“Having E’Lease there was a shoulder to lean on. I always came right behind her on that,” Ajekwu said. “Having her to help was nice, but now I am a senior. I took notes the past three years and now I just have to do me.”

With a team filled with returning talent, Ajekwu is confident about the steps they can take toward a state title.

“[Our goal is] to attend state,” Ajekwu said. “We can win state, one step at a time.

About the Writer
Gary Schmidt, Newspaper Co-Editor-in-Chief

Hi, my name is Gary. I'm a senior, in my fourth year of being on staff. In addition to journalism, I do soccer, Student Council, Unified Sports, Wrestling,...

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Star senior center, KU commit, prepares for greater impact in final season