About this Bawa fella


Kerry Johnson took up coaching basketball because of his own son’s interest in the game at a young age, and he has since had a chance to work with players at every level.

But when a player named Bawa Muniru (pronounced BOW-waa moo-KNEE-roo) arrived in Huntsville five years ago, Johnson was confronted with a job for which nothing could have prepared him.

“It was like teaching a complete beginner,” he said, chuckling, “who just happened to be almost 7-foot.”

While Muniru (6-11, 250 pounds) remains a raw prospect, he did enough playing for Madison Academy (where he won three state titles) and an assortment of AAU teams to become a coveted prospect in the class of 2009.

And on Thursday he became the sixth player to give a verbal commitment to Indiana coach Tom Crean.

“I didn’t even know he wanted to commit,” said Johnson, an assistant at Madison who has also worked with Muniru over the summer. “I thought he would just check in with coach Crean. But he must have been sure.”

Muniru visited Indiana last weekend. His trip included a midnight stroll with Crean down Kirkwood, during which he was recognized by dozens of fans. He also attended the football game on Saturday and spent time with future teammate Derek Elston, a 6-8 forward who was the first player to join the 2009 class.

Despite raving about his visit, Muniru told those closest to him that he wasn’t ready to make a college decision.

“He came back and he was pretty sure that he wanted to take other visits,” Johnson said. “Oklahoma State and Missouri were up there on his list. But he obviously found what he wanted.”

Now Bawa must find a place to attend school and play this season. As a 19-year-old, his is no longer eligible to play for Madison Academy and has been searching for prep schools to attend. He began the year at Charis Prep in North Carolina, but decided to leave when the NCAA announced recently that it would not accept grades from Charis.

Johnson said that Bawa and his guardian, Madison girls’ basketball coach Brian Privett, hope to decide where he will play by the end of this weekend. They are considering a number of schools, he said.

Neither Bawa or Privett returned messages left for them Friday.

Johnson does not expect Muniru, who plans to sign during the early period in November, to have trouble qualifying.

Muniru arrived in the United State from Ghana as a thin, 6-8 14-year-old. His move was orchestrated, in part, by Adama Kiawu, the Liberian sports director who would team with Bloomington resident Mark Adams a year later to start the A-Hope Foundation (African Hoops Opportunities Providing an Education).

Like current Indiana forward Tijan Jobe — an A-Hope product — he landed at Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina, but moved to Huntsville with an assistant coach and found a home at Madison.

Indiana’s coaching staff noticed Muniru playing for Johnson’s AAU squad, Team Vigilance, at the Kentucy Hoopfest in Louisville during the July evaluation period. Their pursuit of Muniru was bolstered by the hiring of assistant coach Roshown McLeod, a former player for the Atlanta Hawks who was well-known throughout the South for his work in player development.

Johnson said Muniru has worked to rebound above the rim and is trying to improve his footwork.

“He’s all upside,” Johnson said. “He’s worked hard to get where he is and if he can keep that up he can become a really complete and special player.”

Bawa’s commitment means that Indiana could sign six players (it already has verbal commitments from guards Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek, wing Christian Watford and forwads Elston and Bobby Capobianco) in November even though it will only have five open scholarships in 2009 if the current roster stays in tact.

The Big Ten allows teams to over-sign by one to compensate for the frequency of transfers.
Players are especially apt to transfer in a coach’s first year; three players left Indiana following the 2006-07 season, Kelvin Sampson’s first as head coach.

Share the Scoop!

2 comments:

  • rbs #1


    Monday, September 29, 2008 - 11:56 AM EST

    I’m still confused by this business of over-offering scholarships on the assumption that someone will transfer out. What happens if no one does want to transfer? Does someone just get his scholarship taken away?

  • MillaRed #2


    Monday, September 29, 2008 - 4:54 PM EST

    I have asked myself that question but I think we have to trust the staff here. It almost seems as if they had a discussion with a player and their parents and under the worst circumstance they would forfeit the scholly one year for the benefit of the team.

    With all the scrutiny surrounding the program I would be shocked if they handcuffed themselves. Furthermore, it could be a good sign that the staff does not foresee further punishment from the NCAA. It looks like we have been through enough thank goodness.

Scoop Poll:

How many games will IU basketball win in 2014-15

  • 16-19 (45%, 145 Votes)
  • 20-23 (36%, 117 Votes)
  • 15 or less (12%, 38 Votes)
  • 24 or more (7%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 324

Loading ... Loading ...

IU vs Louisville Men\'s Jimmy V Classic

Men's Basketball Player Pages

[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_blackmon1.jpg]4940James Blackmon, Jr.
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard James Blackmon Jr. (1)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_zeisloft1.jpg]3810Nick Zeisloft
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Nick Zeisloft (2)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hoetzel1.jpg]3480Max Hoetzel
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Max Hoetzel (3)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_johnson1.jpg]3070Robert Johnson
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Robert Johnson (4)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_williams1.jpg]2790Troy Williams
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Troy Williams (5)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_burton1.jpg]2750Ryan Burton
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Ryan Burton (10)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_yogi1.jpg]2460Yogi Ferrell
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_perea1.jpg]2720Hanner Mosquera-Perea
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea (12)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_robinson1.jpg]2280Stanford Robinson
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Stanford Robinson (22)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_ritchie1.jpg]2240Nate Ritchie
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Nate Ritchie (23)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_holt1.jpg]2690Emmitt Holt
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Emmitt Holt (25)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hartman1.jpg]2840Collin Hartman
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Collin Hartman (30)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_priller1.jpg]3150Tim Priller
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Tim Priller (35)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_april1.jpg]3190Jeremiah April
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers center Jeremiah April (44)

Women's Basketball Player Pages

[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_walter1.jpg]3430Jess Walter
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Jess Walter (2)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_buss1.jpg]8250Tyra Buss
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Tyra Buss (3)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_brooks1.jpg]4610Larryn Brooks
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Larryn Brooks (5)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_agler1.jpg]3790Taylor Agler
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Taylor Agler (10)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_bell2.jpg]2940Nicole Bell
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Nicole Bell (12)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_stratman1.jpg]2870Liz Stratman
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hulls1.jpg]2990Kaila Hulls
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard/forward Kaila Hulls (15)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_mcbride1.jpg]2520Karlee McBride
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Karlee McBride (21)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_gassion1.jpg]2370Alexis Gassion
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Alexis Gassion (23)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_muensterman1.jpg]2550Maura Meunsterman
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Maura Muensterman (31)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_mize1.jpg]2510Andrea Mize
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Andrea Mize (32)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_cahill1.jpg]2660Amanda Cahill
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Amanda Cahill (33)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_jakubicek1.jpg]2740Claire Jakubicek
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Claire Jakubicek (34)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_leikem1.jpg]2620Lyndsay Leikem
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Lyndsay Leikem (40)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_anderson1.jpg]2420Jenn Anderson
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers center Jenn Anderson (43)
  • Geoff:

    t - slow your roll... Sampson was a TWO-TIME national coach of the yea [...]

  • davis:

    PO- I guess, to sum up, our difference is that you think IU has the $$ [...]

  • davis:

    Ben- didn't mean for my post (#25) to have been an attack on you but s [...]

  • Ben_M:

    ...that sounds an awful lot like someone else we all know....iu has an [...]

  • Harvard for Hillbillies:

    I would pick John Ritter.....Mount Rushmore could use some premature b [...]

  • t:

    Sampson not even an average fit for IU even if he had good kids. It w [...]

  • Geoff:

    Bellamy is the next closest thing... But he wasn't NPOY nor did he win [...]


Find Notre Dame football coverage on NDInsider.com. © Hoosier Times Inc., all rights reserved.