Athlete Spotlight: Ugochi Anudokem

Ugochi Anudokem, number 42, is a proud member and Captain of SSU’s Women’s Basketball team.  She grew up in San Jose and graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, CA. Since transferring from Concordia University Irvine she is currently a Junior at Sonoma State and is studying business. 

Her reasons for transferring were that Sonoma State is only an hour and a half away from her hometown which is far enough away from home, but not too far. She also enjoyed the atmosphere of the campus and liked the basketball coaches; to her it felt like the perfect fit.  

Coach Anna Harp had only good things to say about Anudokem, “her many strengths are power, athleticism, and her hands.”

Anudokem is on her 6-year playing basketball and started the sport during her Sophomore year of High School. Her Uncle was an influence because he once played overseas. Her mom is her biggest supporter and was the one to push her to try out the sport. They talk about each upcoming game and her mom reassures her whenever she has doubts about how the game might go.

Basketball did not come easily to her, she worked hard and continues to work hard and learn the sport to become the best player she can possibly be. 

She played for the summer team, West Valley Basketball Club, for three summers straight and it shows. Last season Anudokem had an average of 13.6 points per game.

As a Captain Anudokem said, “being a captain is about setting an example.” She elaborated by saying that what she expects from her teammates she also expects from herself, she always goes one hundred percent.

Her favorite aspects of the sport, other than the thrill of scoring, is the family bond the team has.  “I have 14 new sisters that I can always depend on.” Anudokem likes learning about the sport and is very modest in saying “for me at least, basketball is really challenging, it doesn’t come naturally.  Offensively yes it does, but defensively I really have to think, so I like the challenge of learning and making progress.” 

Her pregame ritual is that she writes down her goals for every game on her body so that during a game she can look at them and keep on track with what she wants to accomplish every game. 

Anudokem’s goal for the women’s basketball team is for them to become as well known as the men’s team. 

“I want us to be a presence and become as well known as the men’s basketball team at Sonoma State.”  

Coming to SSU from a much smaller school, Anudokem loves the energy that students and the community brings to each game.  Coach Harp’s hopes for the team are high.  “II want us to be smart, tough, and fun to watch.  I want people to naturally gravitate towards our effort and capabilities.  If we’re truly good and successful, I hope that it will be enough to start a buzz and following around the type of basketball we play.” 

The team made playoffs last season and Anudokem hopes that this year they make playoffs again, and beat teams that they know they can beat. She explained that “it is hard to define our goals right now because in recent years the women’s basketball hasn’t been as good.”  The team has recently been thriving compared to past seasons.

This past summer Anudokem wrote down her goals for the upcoming season. Though she was afraid that saying them might jinx herself she shared that her top three goals were “I want to get first team CCAA, average a double-double, and I want to be a defensive presence as well as an offensive presence on the court.”  

Coach Harp’s hopes for Anudokem are “to continue to refine her game and fundamentals.  She didn’t start playing basketball until her sophomore year in high school which is crazy considering how dominate she is.  Her basketball story is very unique, but it’s also a testament to her learning abilities and personal desire to be better everyday.”  

Anudokem is unsure what she wants to do in the future, post-graduation, but would probably play basketball overseas if given the opportunity. “I feel like I’ve been playing for such a short time that it can’t be over in just two years, I still need more.”  Coach Harp has been a huge supporter of Anudokem.  She commented, “if she wants to play overseas, then the coaching staff will do anything to help her reach her potential.”