by Milton Posner
After retaining every starter from their 17-18 squad, Northeastern is finally seeing some of its key talent walk the stage. CAA Player of the Year runner-up Vasa Pusica, bruising big man Anthony Green, and stretch center Jeremy Miller are graduating this spring.
Head coach Bill Coen’s newest recruit may go a long way toward replacing them.
18-year-old Quirin Emanga has been putting his 6’5 frame and seven-foot wingspan to work in the Basketball Bundesliga, the highest basketball tier in Germany. His club, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, also competes in the Basketball Champions League, an annual competition of European teams organized by FIBA.
ESPN reporter Jonathan Givony tweeted that Emanga had “quite a few college offers including high majors” but did not specify which schools had extended Emanga offers. His time playing in Germany doesn’t impede his college eligibility because he had junior player status and did not have a pro contract, according to Darijan Briški, who reports on Emanga’s German team.
Emanga’s athleticism and length lets him play guard or forward. He considers defensive intensity, driving to and finishing around the basket, and his recently improved jumpshooting and pick-and-roll instincts among his strengths. He acknowledges his playmaking and rebounding need improvement.
His seven-foot wingspan could aid Northeastern’s already-elite perimeter defense. After holding opponents under 30 percent from three-point range last year, the Huskies have limited them to 33 percent this year — both figures are tops in the conference. This year’s number is all the more impressive because the Huskies have played most of the year without CAA Defensive Player of the Year Shawn Occeus (ankle). Versatile guard-forward Max Boursiquot also missed the entire season with a hip injury.
Emanga is a one-man cultural melting pot. His parents were both born and raised in Cameroon, but Emanga was born in Wissembourg, a tiny French commune near the border with Germany. His bilingualism (he spoke to his mother in French and learned German in kindergarten) came in handy when his family moved to Karlsruhe, Germany.
It was there, at the age of 5, that Emanga began playing basketball. He had found judo first, and his dojo was underneath the basketball gym. Emanga remembered watching other kids and being fascinated by the sport.
Emanga established himself as a role player with modest statistics during his first few years in Germany, though in recent months he has shown out a bit more. In the German U19 NBBL, he has averaged 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in six games. His crowning achievement was a 14-point triple double with five steals and two blocks attached.
This won’t be Emanga’s first basketball in the United States; he spent the summers of 2014 and 2015 playing AAU ball stateside, and he wants to study international business.
How big a role he’ll play on arguably the CAA’s deepest team remains to be seen, but his length, athleticism and burgeoning skill set could make him a fixture in the rotation.