Tayo Ogedengbe, a 28 year old, 6’6″ Forward for the Surrey Scorchers. Originally from London, Ogedengbe has had an illustrious career so far, and his reputation continues to grow within British basketball.
His basketball story is one that should inspire young players, as he only began playing basketball when he was 16 years old.
“I was 16 when I got into basketball so quite late compared to a lot of my peers. I started playing at school because I was tall and found out I was pretty good!”
“Growing up i played for London Towers and then moved to the London Capitals. I had some options to go through the college system in America but nothing seemed to fit well so I stayed here and started Uni, then went to the Gran Caneria basketball academy at 20.”
Tayo has played for the Great Britain national team on multiple occasions.
“Representing your country is like no other feeling. Of course you feel nervous the first time but I was also so excited an immensely proud.”
I went on to ask Tayo about his year with the Surrey Scorchers. Ogedengbe captained the side to a disappointing 7-26 record, which resulted in the Scorchers finishing bottom of the BBL standings.
“This season has been challenging. It has been a different role for me as a captain, but I love playing in Surrey, it’s a great franchise and the fans are great. Next year we will come back so much stronger, myself and the team including management have learnt a lot from this year. So yes playoffs and even more are definitely in our sights for next year.”
Ogedengbe believes that his current head coach, Creon Raftopoulos, has been one of his most influential mentors during his career.
“I’ve know Creon since (London) Towers and played for him a few times, he has always been supportive of me and gives great advice whether I’m on his team or not. (Coach) Kola who coaches Thames valley now really supported me at the beginning. He took me to a lot of practices and introduced me to a lot of the right people. Family have always been supportive of my decisions especially my wife who has traveled and moved around the world with me.”
Being one of the few British players to represent the country at the international level, Ogedengbe is certain that British basketball is moving in the right direction, and we are likely to see more British players go to the NBA in the future.
“British basketball is getting bigger every year. I hope it (The BBL) gets more coverage and players are treated more professionally here as they are in other countries. We have a lot of talent coming up through the ranks so I definitely think you will see more British NBA players.”
With the season now in the books, Tayo is now working towards next season to improve on the disappointing season the Scorchers have suffered. Here is his advice for any young players looking to have a career in the game:
“Work hard every day and never give up. As an athlete in any sport you will face tough times but as long as you continue to improve yourself you will make progress. I would also say work on the things you don’t like to do, more than the things you enjoy doing! Remember success isn’t forever and failure isn’t final.”