King/Drew’s Kosy Akametu back to basketball after time away

KingDrews Kosy Akametu back to basketball after time away
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Kosisochukwu Akametu, who goes by Kosy at King/Drew High, knew he was about to have an unpleasant conversation with his father, Noel, on the ride home from basketball practice in December 2019.

Kosy’s grade in algebra had slipped to a D, and there’s one stipulation in most homes with Nigerian parents: grades matter.

Kosy’s father stopped the car on the side of the road. In a conversation that lasted more than 20 minutes, Noel made it clear that no matter how good a basketball player Kosy might be, a D in algebra was unacceptable because his future was tied to education.

“I wasn’t surprised, but I know I had to be held accountable for what I did,” Kosy said. “I knew how my mom and dad would react to the situation.”

The message was delivered swiftly and bluntly: No more basketball.

“You know how I feel about grades,” his father told him. “You can’t play without grades. We’re not a regular family.”

That ended Kosy’s junior season. He attended the rest of King/Drew’s games, including a City Section Open Division semifinal loss to Westchester. There’s no doubt in the mind of coach Lloyd Webster that if Kosy had played and teamed with the other talented Nigerian on the team, Fidelis Okereke, King/Drew would have won the City title.

COVID-19 arrived in March and everything shut down. People forgot about Kosy, a 6-foot-5 wing player with long arms and impressive jumping ability. Meanwhile, he trained with his younger brother, Chidubem, a 6-4 sophomore, waiting for the chance to resume basketball.

“I made sure every single day, me and my brother worked out. Every day,” Kosy said.

His grade in algebra improved to a B. He was cleared to play, but there were no sports permitted.

When the Los Angeles Unified School District approved indoor basketball to resume in April, Kosy was ready to show what he learned on and off the court.

King/Drew got to play just four regular-season games but what an impression Kosy made. Against Crenshaw, he scored 30 points, including four dunks.

“Demonstration speaks louder than words,” Webster said.

Webster always knew what Kosy was capable of doing. Now others are finding out.

More important is what Kosy learned off the court.

“If you’re playing basketball with bad grades, then you’re playing basketball for nothing,” he said. “Grades get you to the next level.”

Webster, in his fourth season as coach, said he has coached at least 10 players of Nigerian descent and the families of each make it clear academics come first.

“If he gets anything less than a B, he’s not playing,” Webster said one parent told him. “That’s the norm for the Nigerian culture.”

Kosy’s father is away on a business trip, and he left Webster in charge to make sure Kosy stays focused on academics. He need not worry. His son understands 100%.

“I understand his perspective,” Kosy said. “I learned a good lesson.”

City Section Open Division seedings come out Sunday. King/Drew should receive one of the top four seeds.

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