PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On Monday night, Dec. 7, 2015, at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Brown senior forward Cedric Kuakumensah became the greatest shot blocker in the history of Ivy League basketball. Early in Brown’s game against the Georgetown Hoyas — with 16:33 remaining in the first half — Kuakumensah blocked a shot for the 253rd time in his career, breaking the career record held by Brian Gilpin of Dartmouth since 1997.
Number 253 was a memorable, majestic block that sent the ball off the court and into the stands — a highlight of an extraordinary Brown career that is still in progress. See block No. 253 on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Kuakumensah, a senior at Brown, won a starting spot in his freshman year and has served as the Bears’ captain for the last three seasons. Coaches in the Ivy League know all about his defensive play. They twice named Kuakumensah the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year; he was the first freshman to win that honor. In his first three seasons, Kuakumensah led the Ivies in blocked shots and placed in the top five for total rebounds. He is currently the eighth-highest rebounder in Brown history.
“Cedric has been a leader at Brown since the day he set foot on campus,” said Bears head coach Mike Martin. “He is our team’s hardest worker and has been a great representative of our program throughout our campus and in the community. ... When he was a freshman, he earned a spot in the starting lineup ahead of a couple senior teammates, but there was never an issue because he was able to earn their respect from day one through his humility, work ethic, and unselfish approach. He truly understands the concept of team and working with others towards a common goal.”
Kuakumensah, a native of Togo, came to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old, partly in search of a better education. His family first lived in North Carolina for two years, then moved to New York City for a year, finally settling in Worcester, Mass., where four of his maternal uncles lived.
The search for better schooling brought him to St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, R.I., where he joined his friend Michael Carter Williams, a future NBA Rookie of the Year. The search for education that brought him from Togo to the United States ultimately led him to Brown.
Kuakumensah’s academic interests run toward economics — he is concentrating in business, entrepreneurship and organizations — and his athletic career has led him to some significant community efforts. He has been a key volunteer for Rhode Island Special Olympics, interacting with the Special Olympians and conducting several clinics. He volunteers regularly at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School, reading to classes there, and has helped with renovation projects at area high schools, from cleanup to painting and small construction projects.
It’s nearly 5,000 miles from Togo to Providence, but Cedric’s journey has been a fruitful one for him and his family.
Brown will recognize Kuakumensah’s milestone blocked shot — and one of the finest careers in the annals of Brown and Ivy League athletics — on Jan. 30 at home against Penn. Dartmouth alumnus Brian Gilpin, the former career record holder, plans to attend.