DURHAM, N.C.— As Duke University women’s basketball incoming freshman Onome Akinbode-James prepares to head to Durham in August for her rookie campaign in 2018-19, she took time to answer some questions to get to know the 6-3 product of Blairstown, N.J.
What are you most excited for about being at Duke?
I’m most excited for the challenge of simultaneous excellence in the classroom and on the basketball court, especially since Duke is a school that offers greatness in and out of the classroom.
Why did you decide to come to Duke?
There are many reasons why I decided to come to Duke. Needless to say, the opportunity to go to a school that offers such high level academics alongside a high level basketball was one of the most enticing but it wasn’t limited to that as I met some amazing people during my visit. Ranging from the coaches to the players to just people around the school, most people seemed to be dedicated or at least supportive of the mentality of building an all-around person that can influence the world intellectually, athletically, and socially.
Which Duke player currently in the WNBA is your favorite?
When did you start playing basketball?
For those that don’t know much about your game, what kind of player are you and what will you try to bring to the court for Duke?
Although I have a lot of things to work on to become the true all-around player I want to be, I consider myself a forward who can play as a swing player (being able to face up bigger players and post up smaller ones). I think my quickness relative to people my size really gives me an advantage not only on offense but on defense especially when I’m charged with guarding smaller players. I’m also very competitive and I think I can bring a lot of grit to this already talented team. All in all, these have only been done at the high school level so I’m really excited to learn more and improve my skills to be able to excel at the collegiate level.
What is your proudest moment of your basketball career so far?
My proudest moment of my basketball career so far was winning the silver medal at the U-16 Afrobasket in 2015. We were a wildcard team with only nine eligible players that were expected to just get a participation certificate but we didn’t let that define us so we competed and qualified for U-17 worlds.
What is your proudest moment off the court?
My proudest moment most recently off the court was the opportunity I got to give a Tedx talk on an issue that I’m really passionate about (the broken perceptions of Africa).
Who are your biggest inspirations on and off the court?
Greatest inspiration off the court, Madam Janet EKUNDAYO. An average woman who dedicated 40+ years of her life to raising orphans on a meagre salary with no support from the government and for no gain except to contribute her quota to humanity.
If you were to play another sport, what would it be? Probably volleyball
Hidden Talent: I’m learning to play the guitar right now if that counts
Mountains or Beach: Beach
Any Pregame Rituals? None
Favorite TV show: I don’t really have any favorites because I am of a belief that favorites are not just temporary but relative to moments, emotions, eras, etc., hence they are not absolute.