Photo by Brady Doyle
Freshman Jimmy Sorunke has the potential to be one of the most powerful basketball players in the county and contribute to a turnaround from last year’s 2-22 varsity basketball record as the 2017-18 season begins.
Sorunke came to the states from Nigeria to further his education and basketball career nine months ago in March with his 30 year old brother Timmy. Although he is 16, Sorunke is enrolled as a freshman and will play for the varsity team this upcoming season.
When he and his brother came to the U.S., they started living with Joseph Boncore (‘84), who bore the responsibility of being a host, father figure and coach to Sorunke. Boncore has helped Sorunke adapt to living in the U.S., and three months into the school year, Sorunke has already identified differences between his new and old homes.
“Rockville is amazing, it might not be a basketball school but [it] has its advantages and [the] U.S. is way different from back home,” Sorunke said.
Sorunke was originally supposed to go to the basketball-focused Huntington Preparatory School in West Virginia; however, the scholarship was cancelled because they expected Sorunke to be 7’0 tall, but he is only 6’10. After the scholarship was cancelled, Huntington Prep’s varsity basketball coach, Rob Fulford, asked Boncore to take care of Sorunke rather than sending him back to Nigeria.
Rebounding from his cancelled contract, RHS and Boncore were the next best things to help work on his game.
“I came to Rockville to work on my hands and things I was lacking on, while having fun along with it,” Sorunke said.
While his effect against opponents on the court is yet to be seen, his work ethic during the preseason has already drawn attention.
“Jimmy is one of the hardest working players that I have seen. He works every day to improve his skills,” varsity basketball coach Todd Dembroski said.
Sorunke started his now four-year basketball career because of his brother and the movie “Like Mike,” he said. More recently, he is inspired by his favorite NBA player, Ben Simmons, guard and forward for the Philadelphia 76ers with whom Sorunke shares the same build, learning to use the same overwhelming size and reckless abandon on the court.
Sorunke’s teammates have recognized his skills so far this preseason and are eager to see how his play translates during the regular season.
“Jimmy has a lot of potential. He’s ready for the season and getting after it,” junior small forward Matt McTighe said. “He’ll be a great addition to the team. He has such a strong presence on the court and I have a good feeling everyone is going to get the chance to see it.”