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St. Viator's Ore Arogundade drives towards the hoop during their game against Loyola Academy in the Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Challenge on Saturday, December 15, 2012, in Wilmette, IL. | Chandler West~For Sun-Times Media
Ore Arogundade is doubly blessed, graced with the physical tools at 6-3 and long to dominate on a basketball court though also heady and self-aware about the game he loves playing.
“Most games are won or lost even before you step on the court, and my attitude is I want to dominate all phases of the game, but also I want to be there for my teammates, the younger guys, show them how to play and what to do out there,” he said.
The St. Viator junior swingman has been a catalyst for the Lions’ impressive 7-1 start averaging 15.1 points, nine rebunds, three assists and two steals a game. Just as important, he delivers in crucial moments. Last Friday he scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second half in the Lions’ comeback victory over Marist and scored seven of his team-best 18 points in the fourth quarter in St. Viator’s victory over Loyola.
For his accomplishments, Arogundade is the Chicago Sun-Times’ Athlete of the Week.
Arogundade was elevated to the varsity at the end of his freshman year, and he has been a fixture there. “He’s so versatile,” St. Viator coach Mike Howland said. “He makes plays on both the offensive and defensive ends. He’s a two-guard who leads in rebounding.
“He loves the big stage, as you saw over the weekend. He’s worked very hard to become a leader.”
Arogundade is a difficult match up because he is too big for most guards and too quick for many small forwards. Difficult to contain in the open floor, he has worked hard at developing his midrange game. “I think my strengths are scoring and rebounding,” he said.
He is also the emotional leader of a talented though very young team with two other emerging young talents, sophomores Patrick McNamara and Mark Falotico. Arogundade is the lynchpin.
His name and reputation is quickly expanding. He has received scholarship offers from MAC programs NIU and Toledo and has also drawn interest from DePaul, Wichita State, Troy and other programs. His primary interest is elevating the profile of St. Viator.
The Arlington Park-native had his choice of schools though he went with the Lions “because of the community-based activism and support, and also it’s a top-notch education,” he said.
Arogundade is preparing for the Wheeling’s Hardwood Classic, where the Lions open with Libertyville on Dec. 26. The Lions are one of the top seeds in a competitive field with No. 10 Notre Dame and No. 20 and defending tournament champion Naperville Central.
The Lions are also in the thick of a brutally competitive East Suburban Catholic Conference race.
“We’ve had a great start, but we play in a great conference, one of the best in the state, and we’re going to play a lot of great teams, and we want to be at the top, so I have to be even more aggressive in how I play the game,” he said.