Born to Ball: Austin scoring duo found their inspiration at a young age

Published 8:24 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Austin’s dynamic scoring duo of Medi Obang and Agwa Nywesh have been locked into the sport of basketball for most of their lives as each of them found their heroes at a young age.

Obang found his inspiration when he discovered the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant when he was six years old and he soon found himself scanning through YouTube videos of Bryant on a regular basis.

If you watch Obang play, you’ll see the effect of those video sessions as the senior guard, who is averaging 26.7 points per game, has a large array of ways to score — including a step-back three and an impressive ability to finish near the rim.

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“I’ve been watching a lot of Kobe Bryant and I feel like he’s kind of influenced my game,” Obang said. “I looked up to him as a kid. I saw him making big shots and I wanted to be that guy.”

Nywesh didn’t have to look very far to find his role model. He grew up watching his older brother AJ Newesh, a 2014 AHS grad who was a 1,000-point scorer at Lake Region College and had stints at Division I University of Tennessee-Martin and Division II University of Minnesota-Morris.

Agwa, a junior guard who is averaging 18.6 points per game, learned a lot from watching AJ work day after day towards his goal of playing college basketball and Agwa’s put in the time to get himself to that level and beyond.

Austin’s Agwa Nywesh breaks to the hoop around Rochester Mayo’s Mohamed Hammadelniel. Herald File Photo

“I strive to be better than my brother. Right now everybody thinks I’m in his shadow and I want to come out of his shadow and show that I’ve got game myself. I can play too,” Agwa said. “We played one-on-one (recently) and it didn’t go exactly as I wanted, but I like playing against him. He pushes me to get better and he’s always in my ear about working out, getting to school and getting my schoolwork done. It’s good to have somebody like that.”

The No. 4 ranked Packers are off to a 5-2 start this season and Austin head coach Kris Fadness said that Obang and Agwa both have carried the offense at times.

“The bottom line is they’re just flat out scorers. Medi plays with an edge and it’s almost like a violent edge. He just plays angry. He’s willing to challenge anybody and he’s afraid of no one. We’ve coached confident guys in the past, but Medi’s ridiculously confident,” Fadness said. “Agwa is highly skilled and he’s got a quick bounce. He’s long, he’s quick off his feet and he’s very passionate. He’s one of the kids who will ask to work out at 6 a.m. the next morning.”

While they can get their shot off at almost any time they want, the next step for Obang and Agwa is for them to develop as play-makers. Fadness said the Packers play best when the ball moves around and the team gets the best shot, not the first shot.

“Both (Agwa and Obang) have the ability to get their shots off anytime and sometimes from a coaching perspective that’s hard. Because I may want them to be more patient at times,” Fadness said. “I don’t think we can sit there as a team and rely on two guys. Our best game by far was the JM game and that was the game where we had the best balance.”

The Packers (4-1 Big Nine) have a lot of season left, but they showed their potential when they held a second half lead in a 93-88 loss to Rochester Mayo (6-2 overall, 5-0 Big Nine). Austin is averaging 77.7 points per game, but it allows 70.4 points per game.

Austin’s Medi Obang drives on the perimeter during the first half against Faribault. Herald File Photo

“This year has been sort of a roller coaster, because we’ve been going through a lot of slumps defensively and offensively. But right now we’re headed for a good run,” Agwa said. “I don’t want to get everyone rowdy or anything, but state is the ultimate goal. We’re going to absolutely work our tails off to get there. We’re going to take it one game at a time and the results will come with the work.”

Austin will play three of its next four games at home starting with Owatonna (4-4 overall, 3-1 Big Nine) at 7:30 p.m. tonight.