MIAMI (NCAA/Afrobasket) - When Cameroon’s players gather this summer to start preparing for the Afrobasket, don't be surprised if a newcomer who goes by the name Kenny Kadji is among them.
The 2.11m Kadji, a senior at the University of Miami, would bring much-needed size to a national side whose tallest player at Afrobasket 2011 was 2.05m Joseph Owona.
Now 36, Owona averaged just over 11 minutes per game for a Cameroon team that came in a disappointing seventh in Madagascar.
The 24-year-old Kadji, who hails from Douala and played at Pendleton/IMG Academy for coach Mike Moreau before embarking on his collegiate career, would bring more than height.
He would add quality.
After a couple of disappointing seasons with the Florida Gators, Kadji transferred to Miami and has not only blossomed into one of the Hurricanes' top players, but one of the finest in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Known before the start of the season as a skilled jump-shooting big man, Kadji on Wednesday night showed against top-ranked Duke University he can do a lot more in pouring in 22 points, corralling six rebounds and swatting two shots.
On one play late in the first half, Kadji caught a pass behind the three-point arc, blew past Duke's Mason Plumlee and after one dribble, floated to his left and banked in a left-handed lay-up.
Duke showed up at Miami led by Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski and trying to bolster their reputation as the best team in the country, but Kadji and Miami rolled to a 90-63 win.
The defeat was the third worst for a No. 1 team.
Kadji and Miami have now claimed the scalps of two of college basketball's most famous teams because they also won at the University of North Carolina two weeks ago, 68-59.
The Cameroonian had 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks against the Tar Heels.
Kadji said after the win at Carolina that he was intent on becoming a more complete player.
"I came in (to the 2012-13 season) working on ball-handling, defense," Kadji said.
"I'm trying to stay aggressive, get to the basket and shoot the ball and I'm trying to rebound."
There are a lot more games for Kadji this season.
He and Miami are trying to reach the NCAA Tournament and once there, to make an impact.
Kadji is also looking to enhance his status before the NBA Draft.
Don’t be surprised if he plays for Cameroon at the Afrobasket this summer.
Kadji would only be a positive as they attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.