Iwuchukwu is the centerpiece of the Cole program –
literally and fi guratively – but there’s more to the Cougars
than just him.
Cantu, a 31-year-old in his third season as the coach,
is building something here, and he has great buy-in from
the players and their families.
The leaders of the team are a pair of seniors: 5-10
shooting guard Andrew Reed and 6-3 forward Jordyn
Reed, who didn’t play much as a junior, embodies the
work ethic of the team, making huge strides in his game
this past summer.
“He’s one of our most improved players,” Cantu said.
Arnette last season was the leading scorer on a
balanced Cougars team, averaging 12.5 points to go with
7.0 rebounds. He was named the MVP of the district and
also earned a bevy of other honors, including All-State.
Cole’s other three starters this season are all
sophomores: 5-9 point guard Silas Livingston, 6-2 wing
Trey Blackmore and Iwuchukwu.
Livingston averaged 8.0 points, 3.0 assists and 3.0
steals last season.
“He’s our quarterback,” Cantu said. “We want the ball
in his hands because he’s the smartest player on our
team. He’s like a coach, and we trust that he will make
the right decisions.”
Blackmore started as a freshman last season and made
First-Team All-District, averaging 11.0 points.
“He has the talent to play at a high-major, Division I
college,” Cantu said. “He has a good feel for the game.”
And then there’s Iwuchukwu, who averaged 12.0
points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks last season during
Cole’s 34-6 run.
With his impressive 7-foot-6 wingspan leading the way,
Cole made the state tournament for the fi rst time since
Just 16 years old, Iwuchukwu has earned the nickname
“Baby Shaq” and has caught the attention and earned the
emotional support of the former NBA superstar.
Perhaps the most amazing part of Iwuchukwu’s story
is that he was a soccer player until three years ago. He
picked up soccer while growing up at U.S. Army bases in
South Korea and Germany.
When Cantu took the job, he wasn’t aware of
Iwuchuckwu. But even if Cantu had met the kid,
Iwuchuckwu was just in the eighth grade at the time,
and, athough he was exceptionally tall at 6-7, he was far
“He couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time,”
Cantu said. “I don’t think anyone could predict what’s
What’s happened is that Iwuchukwu has learned the
game at a rapid pace. Instead of becoming a big kid who
can only score inside, Iwuchukwu can dribble well for a
kid his size, and he shot 42 percent on three-pointers last
season. He also shot 70 precent from the foul line.
“I don’t know of too many 16-year-olds who can do
what he can at nearly seven feet,” Cantu said. “He has a
great skill set.
“There’s a reason why so many colleges are interested
in him, from Texas to Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Florida
State. They all see the potential.”
He’s our most
in that he can dribble, pass, shoot and rebound. He’s the
T O TA L PA C K A G E
and he has the highest work ethic.
201920 SAN ANTONIO HIGH SCHOOLS BASKETBALL YEARBOOK | 11