Purdue Fort Wayne hoops wastes no time in finding, landing versatile Canadian

Purdue Fort Wayne men's basketball coach Jon Coffman shouts instructions to his team during a game against IUPUI at the Gates Sports Center earlier in his career in Fort Wayne. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Purdue Fort Wayne freshman forward Josh Inkumsah

Today marks the opening of the critical July recruiting period for college basketball coaches throughout the country and the Purdue Fort Wayne staff is no exception to that.

The Mastodon staff will be scouring the country in search of talent and in some cases initiating relationships that may be years in the making before a prospect ends up with the program.

That is how some recruiting stories unfold but not all. In some instances, Purdue Fort Wayne needs a lot of unorthodox circumstances to occur in order to land a player and it can all take place in just a few days.

That is precisely how Canadian prep school forward Josh Inkumsah ended up becoming a Mastodon.

“He was an interesting one,” veteran Mastodon coach Jon Coffman told News-Sentinel.com recently. “I recruited him out of Florida is the best way to put it.”

Come again?

Coffman has two decades of recruiting relationships within the state of Florida and because of that (and several other reasons) Inkumsah, who attended a prep school over 1,100 miles from the Florida state line, is now in Fort Wayne.

The Purdue Fort Wayne coach was talking with a longtime acquaintance who coaches at a prep school in Florida and he told Coffman about this kid from Canada that his team had played earlier in the season.

“I was on the road recruiting and just picked up the phone to catch up,” Coffman said of the fateful moment he learned of Inkumsah. “We were just shooting the breeze and he said that we needed to look at (Inkumsah).”

That prep school coach sent a video of Inkumsah to Coffman, which was intriguing, but the young player’s long journey to the Mastodons still had a lot of obstacles to overcome.

With the NCAA calendar allowing off-season workouts winding down quickly, time was of the essence if Coffman was going to be able to watch Inkumsah in person against his own players. He called Inkumsah’s father at 3 p.m. one day and as it turned out, Inkumsah already had a visit planned to another college nearing.

Wanting to visit Fort Wayne badly, however, Inkumsah decided to get into a car 10 hours after initially hearing from Coffman (which was 1 a.m., for the record) and “drove through the night” to Fort Wayne with his mother and prep school coach for an unofficial visit and opportunity to work out with the Mastodon players.

“He really showed well,” Coffman said of the exhausted Inkumsah working out with the Purdue Fort Wayne athletes. “He showed great toughness to be able to do that and perform well.”

At that point, one might believe that the story ends but yet one more obstacle needed to be hurdled to eventually secure Inkumsah.

“There were a lot of things that fell into place in a short period of time to make that thing work out,” Coffman said. “We recruited him for three days and honestly, it doesn’t work out if (Inkumsah’s) prep school coach’s wife is not a travel agent.”

The travel agent was able to switch flights out of Detroit to the other college, which played to the Mastodons’ favor and Coffman couldn’t be happier after signing Inkumsah.

“I think that he will be a really hard post match-up for the perimeter-based fours in our league,” Coffman explained.

Inkumsah’s story is unique but so is he physically.

The 6-foot-7 athlete weighs 250 pounds and he has utilized that bulk in the post throughout his career, however, he has the agility and skill set to play at the four-spot on the perimeter.

“We identified him more as a perimeter guy, a four-man,” Coffman said. “He’s played a lot of five in AAU because he’s 250. He’s really good in the post and showed that when he worked out with us. He can be an undersized-five.

“But I really like him playing on the perimeter and then utilizing mismatches in the post.”

Inkumsah averaged over 12 points and six rebounds but he also passed for over two assists per game for London (Ontario) Basketball Academy.

“He has great mobility and has a versatile skill set,” Coffman said upon signing Inkumsah. “(But) most importantly, I love his ability to pass the basketball and see the floor.”

Inkumsah can play some minutes in the post along with redshirt sophomore Dylan Carl, junior college transfer Ramion Burt Jr., and Lehigh transfer Matt Holba. However, he will also see time at the four along with Holba.

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