Every time senior Kevin Ayissi-Etoh is on the floor, he’s certain to put on a show.
As the shooting guard for this school’s basketball team and a McDonald’s top 40 All-American selection, Ayissi-Etoh masterfully dribbles and drives through the opposition. As one of the star performers of the fan favorite boys’ dance team, the Woottonnettes, he basks in the spotlight and draws cheers from the crowd with his entertaining solos. Either way, Ayissi-Etoh is at the top of his game, though the journey behind the scenes was far from glamorous.
Ayissi-Etoh broke onto this school’s sporting scene as a freshman, leading the varsity basketball team in scoring in just his first year in action. Already used to playing against elite competition on the AAU circuit and in summer showcases, Ayissi-Etoh had a smooth transition that signaled that the Patriots had a bright future ahead.
His next two seasons came to shocking halts. Knee injuries cut short both Ayissi-Etoh’s sophomore and junior seasons, and the combination of injuries in back-to-back seasons was a devastating blow that made Ayissi-Etoh question whether he could get back to his top form. “The first time I got injured I was like alright, I’m gonna come back stronger,” Ayissi-Etoh said. “When the second time came, that hit me and I battled depression and stuff. But, I stayed positive, and my family helped me through that.”
In his final season as a Patriot, Ayissi-Etoh has not only returned to his role as an elite scorer, but has elevated his game and his team. His Russell Westbrook-esque playing style has proved impossible to contain and has served as the centerpiece of the Patriot offensive attack, while he often takes on the opposition’s best offensive player on the defensive side of the court. “He makes everyone around him better,” senior point guard Garrett Koch said. “He opens up the floor, he draws defenders and drives in, and then he finds open teammates.”
Ayissi-Etoh’s relentless practice and rehabilitation from injury recently paid off in a way the star shooting guard didn’t expect. During the season, he was named a top 40 selection to the McDonald’s All-America team, one of the most prestigious honors for high school players. The news couldn’t have come at a more fitting time – while Ayissi-Etoh was shooting baskets. “They called my dad directly and were like ‘hey, yo, your son made it,’” Ayissi-Etoh said. “I was practicing when it happened and my dad just came onto the court and was like ‘ HEY KEVIN, KEVIN’…I was like ‘For real?’. I was just hyped. I saw it and I was like AAAAH, let’s go!”
After this year, Ayissi-Etoh plans to continue his career at the next level as a walk-on for the Xavier Musketeers, a team that was a number one seed in last year’s March Madness tournament. Until then, Ayissi-Etoh will do what he does best – leading his team to victory and entreating fans to performances that are definitely worth the price of admission.