Year in and year out, college basketball is filled with players that can light up the scoreboard on any given night. Some of these players will get recognized far more than others, while others somewhat fall under the radar. In the case of Iowa State senior Melvin Ejim, he definitely pertains to the latter.
The 6-foot-6-inch forward from Toronto, Ontario, Canada is one of college basketball’s most overlooked players in the country this season. Ejim has been a pretty solid player for the Cyclones in his four years of playing. The Cyclones started off the season red-hot, going 14-0 before losing four of their next five games. Since the brief skid, IowaState has won five of its past six games. Ejim has had a huge role in those five victories.
The streak of good play started back on February 1st at home against (then No. 23) Oklahoma where the Cyclones would emerge victorious 81-75. In the game, Ejim recorded a double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Two days later the team traveled to OklahomaState and left victorious after a three-overtime game. Ejim would again log a double-double, this time of 22 points and 13 rebounds. Five days later, Ejim would state his case as one of the better players in the country.
On February 8th, Ejim and the Cyclones hosted visiting TCU and won the game 84-69. Ejim had a career-high 48 points while grabbing 18 rebounds. He shot 20-24 from the field, including a handful of dunks. The next two games were more down-to-earth for Ejim who scored just six points in a 102-77 loss to West Virginia. Ejim and the Cyclones bounced back with Ejim scoring 13 points and the team getting the win. ISU continued its hot play as of late on Tuesday night as it played host to the No. 19 Texas Longhorns and won the game 85-76. Ejim was a big factor in the victory, scoring 25 point and corralling eight caroms.
He is the Cyclones’ leading scorer at 18.9 points per game, to go with a team-best 8.6 rebounds per game. Ejim is shooting 52 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc, scoring double-digits in all but one game this season and has reached at least 20 points in 11 games. He has recorded eight double-doubles this season, has a career averages of 12.5 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. The young man is just 47 points away from 1,500 points for his career. Iowa State has made the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons and is looking to make that a third straight year, led by Ejim. He isn’t one of the elite freshmen in the country, but this senior deserves a lot more recognition than he is receiving.