Canadian-born Melvim Ejim may have missed out the opportunity to represent the Nigeria national at the 2012 Olympic Games, but he is working hard to get the attention of NBA teams and succeed in the upcoming 2014 Draft.
Two summers ago, Ejim, whose family moved from Nigeria to Toronto just before he was born in 1991, practiced with he Nigeria team before being cut from the final 12-man squad.
Nigeria head coach Ayodele Bakare and his squad moved on for a reasonable London Olympic campaign, while Ejim returned to Iowa State University, where he spent four years before declaring available for the NBA earlier this year.
Ejim became Iowa State best player in his senior year especially because of his consistent double-double performances.
Since the 2014 NBA Draft Combine held last month in Chicago, Ejim has not rested, meeting teams and showcasing his potential in order to grab a spot in the Draft, 26 June.
As a 6-foot-6 forward, Ejim is considered undersized for his position, though he is adamant he can play in the NBA. It is just a matter of time and hard work, he argues.
In the past few weeks, the 23-year-old worked out with the Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, and Orlando Magic, and he is expected to attend a training session with his local team, the Toronto Raptors on 4 June.
“I am trying to reinforce that I have a lot of intangible, and I can bring leadership, communication, maturity, hard work as well as being a versatile scorer and a versatile defender,” Ejim told reporters after his practice with the Magic.
Unlike, most top NBA prospects, Ejim spent four years in college, led the Big 12 in scoring, was named the Conference Player of the Year, and he excelled in several categories.
“I rebound extremely well for my size. I want to show that I can play with the best, and I think I can bring a lot to the table,” Ejim said.
For a forward of his size, Ejim’s outside game is often questioned, and if he succeeds in his attempt to enter the NBA, he definitely would need to improve his shooting from the perimeter.
And he explained the reasons for criticism.
“A lot of people don’t think that I can play well on the perimeter. I think that is a little bit to do with the fact that I play primarily as a four. This is what people think I might need to improve.
“I think I have the talent and ability, it is just a matter of time until they see it. I am excited with all the process, go out and meet these teams, and do what I do best, play basketball,” Ejim told reporters.
Ejim came up with one the greatest performances in Iowa State history during an 84-69 victory over TCU as he broke the Big 12 Conference scoring record with a career-high 48 points, the second-best single-game total in the school history.
Ejim finished second in the conference in scoring with 18.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while also finishing third in field goal percentage (51.3).
“I think I have an incredible resume but there are still some doubts. That’s the story of my life. It’s only a matter of time until I prove them wrong,” Ejim declared.