Wakefield grad Andre Ahiagbede-Seadey joins George Mason men’s basketball team
Wakefield graduate Andre Ahiagbede-Seadey has joined the George Mason University men's basketball team as a walk-on redshirt freshman. --Courtesy photo
Andre Ahiagbede-Seadey easily could have played for an NCAA Division III men's basketball team this season.
Instead, the 2015 Wakefield School graduate took a risk and enrolled at George Mason University with only a tryout promised by the D-I Patriots. And then that tryout opportunity disappeared in the fall, so Ahiagbede-Seadey had to at least contemplate transferring to a smaller school.
In November, however, circumstances changed again, and now Ahiagbede-Seadey is on the GMU roster as a walk-on redshirt freshman.
“I'm so excited for him,” Wakefield head coach Tee Summers said. “After the tryout fell through, I'm glad he still got the opportunity. … I'm just so proud of him.”
Ahiagbede-Seadey, 18, originally planned to try out for the team in September after he arrived on the Fairfax campus for the first time. The Patriots coaching staff, however, had changed since the end of the 2014-15 season, which triggered some player transfers away from George Mason. They forced GMU coaches back on the recruiting trail during the fall and left Ahiagbede-Seadey in limbo.
Dave Paulsen had taken over as head coach, replacing Paul Hewitt, who finished the 2014-15 season with a 9-22 record overall and a 4-14 mark in the Atlantic 10.
“When I got on campus, they said they weren't ready for the tryout,” said Ahiagbede-Seadey, a 6-foot-1 point guard who lives in Centreville. “Since it was a new coaching staff, they were really behind on everything. The roster wasn't full, so they were still on recruiting trips.”
Nonetheless, Ahiagbede-Seadey remained in contact with the coaching staff.
“He continued to workout and he'd play pickup with the team,” Summers said. “He's a gym rat.
“He was just determined,” Summers said. “He believed in his heart that he was Division I material.”
That, after all, is the reason Ahiagbede-Seadey enrolled at GMU in the first place rather than heading to a D-III school.
“My ultimate goal was to play Division I,” he said. Choosing George Mason “was more to see if my goal was actually achievable. … I would rather try to do that than regret not trying.”
Many D-III schools, such as the University of Scranton (Penn.), recruited Ahiagbede-Seadey out of high school, as did some D-II teams. He also considered attending a junior college with the hope of later moving to a D-I school, but the chance to immediately make the roster at GMU was more enticing.
“That was one of the main reasons I went there,” he said. “I knew they were going to give me that opportunity.”
In late November, they finally did. Ahiagbede-Seadey joined six other potential walk-ons for a tryout session, and only he ended up making the Patriots' roster.
“Now I feel like I made the right decision,” he said of attending GMU. “I feel like I know I'm capable of playing at this level.”
Given his late addition to the roster, and his status as a walk-on, GMU coaches decided to designate him as a redshirt. So Ahiagbede-Seadey does not travel with the team for road games, but he plays an important role during practices.
"Andre has been a great addition to our program,” Paulsen said. “He brings a lot of energy to practice each day. He does a good job of helping our scout team run [the] opponent's offense and helps us prepare for games."
George Mason has a 7-14 record thus far this season with a 1-7 mark in A-10. Ahiagbede-Seadey has been on the roster since early December.
“It's a blessing,” he said. “But I'm not completely satisfied. … This is just another step to the ultimate goal.”
That, of course, would be to earn significant playing time in the future.
“We're hoping next year maybe he can find a minute or two on the court,” Summers said, “and then find his way” higher.
Regardless, Ahiagbede-Seadey fully appreciates his opportunity with GMU.
“I'm just thankful for everyone that's helped me, especially Coach Summers and all my Wakefield teammates,” he said. “It wouldn't be possible without Wakefield.”
The Owls finished Ahiagbede-Seadey's senior season with a program-best 26-6 record after advancing to the VISAA Division III state semifinals. As Wakefield's starting point guard, he averaged 13 points, eight assists and three steals per game.
“He was a leader,” Summers said. “He meant everything to our program, and he still does. When he doesn't have [GMU] games or practices, he comes and sits on the [Wakefield] bench with me and helps me coach.”
Ahiagbede-Seadey also plans to major in business management with a possible minor in sports management as he balances academics with being a college athlete.
“Basketball is pretty much an all-day thing at the Division I level,” he said. “You lift, practice, get treatment and have class. It's not like high school anymore where you practice an hour or two.”
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