State Colleges

If not for this friendship, NNU men’s basketball would be short a leading scorer

Northwest Nazarene’s Adonis Arms had 16 points and five rebounds in the Nighthawks’ 83-73 win over College of Idaho on Tuesday in Nampa. The Yotes won the first game 86-82 in double overtime in Caldwell.
Northwest Nazarene’s Adonis Arms had 16 points and five rebounds in the Nighthawks’ 83-73 win over College of Idaho on Tuesday in Nampa. The Yotes won the first game 86-82 in double overtime in Caldwell. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native Adonis Arms didn’t know anything about Northwest Nazarene University.

But he did know Obi Megwa, and that’s all that mattered.

After playing one season together at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, Arms followed Megwa to NNU, where the two have teamed up for a 4-0 start on the Nighthawks’ men’s basketball team.

“Obi left my sophomore year at Mesa Community College, so then when the (NNU) coaches were recruiting me, I knew he was on the team already,” Arms said. “If he wasn’t in an NNU jersey, something else could happen. ... He put a lot of emphasis on that and a lot of persuasion, so that’s why I came here, and that’s why two Mesa CC guys ended up in Nampa, Idaho.”

Through four games, including an 83-73 victory over College of Idaho in the second round of the United Heritage Mayors’ Cup on Tuesday night, Adonis, a 6-foot-6 junior guard, is averaging a team-best 17.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Megwa is the Nighthawks’ second-leading scorer at 13.5 points per game, and he also has a team-high 19 assists.

“He’s a big time player. I think he’s going to be one of the best players in this conference for sure,” Megwa said. “He just brings so much to our team on the court and off the court. He’s a good player, length, plays defense, can score the ball. He can do everything.”

After averaging 17.0 points per game last season and earning a spot on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s second team, Megwa was set to be “the guy” for the Nighthawks as a senior in 2018-19. But by helping to bring Arms to NNU, Megwa essentially gave up his opportunity to be the Nighthawks’ star player.

“I think that really says something about Obi not only helping get Adonis here, but then getting him the ball and really deferring to him and letting him step into that role because it’s what’s best for our team,” NNU coach Paul Rush said.

“He’s able to check his ego and approach things that way. If he wasn’t, if we had two alpha dogs out there trying to get their shot off all the time, it would be a very painful season.”

Instead, the Nighthawks remain undefeated going into the Vandal Holiday Hoops Showcase this Friday and Saturday at CenturyLink Arena in Boise. NNU, a Division II program, opens against the University of Idaho at approximately 7 p.m. on Friday and then plays Portland State at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“Every guy at a Division II school feels like they got overlooked at the Division I level,” Rush said. “So they always go into those games with an edge and excitement like ‘I want to prove that I can play at that level.’ Our guys are really excited about it.”

Notes: College of Idaho defeated NNU 86-82 in double overtime Nov. 13, but that game was an exhibition for the Nighthawks. ... Megwa led NNU in the rematch Tuesday with 18 points and five assists. Arms added 16 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes because of foul trouble. ... Timberline High alum Gibson Berryhill paced the Yotes (9-1) with 17 points, including a 3-for-6 effort from 3-point range.

Vandal Holiday Hoops Showcase

The two-day men’s college basketball showcase on Friday and Saturday at CenturyLink Arena in Boise will feature the University of Idaho, UC Santa Barbara, Portland State and Northwest Nazarene.

Tickets start at $15 per day, and student admission is $10.

Friday’s games

UC Santa Barbara vs. Portland State, 5 p.m.

Idaho vs. Northwest Nazarene, 7 p.m. (approximately)

Saturday’s games

Portland State vs. Northwest Nazarene, 5 p.m.

Idaho vs. UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m. (approximately)

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