2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/6/2014 9:45 PM

St. Viator's Arogundade chillingly good in the clutch

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  • St. Viator's Ore Arogundade, left, drives along the baseline against Hersey defender Alex Mueller during their nonconference matchup earlier this season.

      St. Viator's Ore Arogundade, left, drives along the baseline against Hersey defender Alex Mueller during their nonconference matchup earlier this season.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

The cold winter has not bothered Ore Arogundade. That's because the St. Viator senior has ice in his veins.

Five times this season, Arogundade has been called upon to deliver a winning or tying shot. And on all five occasions, Arogundade delivered for the Lions.

For that kind of clutch play and a 3½-year varsity career that made him the highest scoring player in St. Viator history, Arogundade has been named honorary captain of the Daily Herald's Northwest all-area team.

In games against Hinsdale Central and Lake Forest, Arugundade nailed shots that sent games into overtime. Against Benet, he hit the game winner with 5 seconds to play, and against Proviso East he hit the tying shot and then the game-winner in overtime.

"I think it came from watching Kobe, Michael and LeBron play basketball," Arogundade said. "They all want the ball at end. If I miss I can take the blame. I am a confident person. I know I can make play and I am OK with it."

Arogundade says that his teammates look for him in those situations.

"They are confident in me and they trust me," Arogundade said. "They work hard to get me the ball. And I try to repay that trust when I hit."

St. Viator coach Mike Howland loves the confidence Arogundade exudes, especially in tight games.

"He has always been extremely confident at the end of games," Howland said. "He has always had the feel for it. His success rate is something special. I have never seen anything like it."

Howland says when his team was down in each of those games, there wasn't much a doubt where the ball was going.

"You feel good as a coach being down one or two and needing a bucket," Howland said. "Everyone knew where the ball was going, but Ore came through time and time again."

Arogundade, who is 6-foot 4, has played on the Lions' varsity since late in his freshman year. In that time, he has become the school's leading scorer with 1,513 points, averaging nearly 18 per game. He also has 561 rebounds in his career with a shooting percentage of 54 percent.

This season Arogundade has put together Kobe-like stats. He is averaging 20.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.6 steals for the Lions while leading them to 20-plus wins in each of those seasons.

Arogundade has put up colossal stats in the last two years as well. He averaged 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists as junior and 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a sophomore.

"It has really been fun for me to see him grow up," Howland said. "Not just as a basketball player, but as a young man and teammate. He has matured on and off the floor."

Howland, who has been at the helm of the Lions for the past 3 years and had his success intertwined with Arogundade's.

On senior night, I remembered that he has been here since day one," Howland said. "He has made me look like what I know what I am doing. He is a heck of a basketball player."

Howland, who was a star for the Lions in the mid-90's, loves Arogundade's work ethic.

"I remember him as sophomore," Howland said. "He loves being in the gym and I was that way as well . We have spent a lot of hours together. It has been fun building this program together."

Although he was targeted as a top player at that time, Arogundade has improved his game tremendously.

"He has wowed me with his development," Howland said. "He couldn't shoot the three-ball very well as a freshman and as a sophomore. He has also put a lot of work into his ball handling. He still has tons of potential and can be as good as he wants to be."

Because of that hard work, Howland was able to move Arogundade to the point guard spot this year. That move became even more imperative when starting point guard Mark Falotico broke his ankle before the start of the season.

"People would have thought I was crazy to play him at the point," Howland said. "That just shows you how far he has come. He puts so much pressure on the defense."

Arogundade has spent the past two summers playing AAU ball for the Illinois Wolves. That is where he met Roosevelt Smart, who would later become a teammate after transferring from Palatine.

"He is like my little brother," said Arogundade. "We get along real well. I have tried to help make him feel comfortable playing basketball, and in school."

Just like there is no hesitation on the court, Arogundade, who lives in Schaumburg, had none about attending St. Viator.

"My mom enrolled me and I didn't know much about it," Arogundade said. "My brother Mayo was there, so I felt pretty comfortable. Everybody has been so supportive. It has been a great place for me. It has made me accountable for everything I do."

Arogundade carries an 87.5 percent grade point average (St. Viator is on a numerical scale). With that and his play on the court, it has helped him earn a full ride to Drake next year.

"No books, no ball, that is the saying," Arogundade said. "It definitely goes hand in hand."

Drake, along with St. Louis, Murray State and Loyola were among the 13 offers Arogundade had from NCAA Division I schools.

"Drake really is the best fit for me," said Arogundade, who plans to major in sports broadcasting. "They have a new coaching staff. It is almost like the same situation I had here, I get to be with somebody fresh."

Arogundade looks forward to playing basketball at Drake and hopefully one day, in the NBA or overseas.

"I would love to play after college," Arogundade said. "But I am focused on Drake after my high school season. They play in a great conference and I would love to win the conference title and play in the tournament."

Arogundade did focus on football his first two years at St. Viator. He decided to focus on basketball, but there are many observers who thought he could be a solid Division I wide receiver.

"I love basketball," Arogundade said. "It grew on me and I love to play it every day."

Even with that ice flowing through his veins.

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