Notre Dame faced an issue on Dec. 21, 2015.
The Fighting Irish were playing Youngstown State that night, and the game seemed pretty random — except for the fact that a certain coach was watching Youngstown's 6--foot-7 forward burn Notre Dame for a double-double, much to everyone's surprise.
More than two years later, Southern coach Morris Scott still remembers the Penguins’ nine-point loss.
“Yeah, that,” the Southern coach said.
“We watched the game film on it and everything like that and were like, ‘Wow.’ This kid, he’s athletic. He plays with a lot of energy. He’s athletic. He can defend a little bit. We probably can utilize this guy.”
Umude, reflecting on his 15-point, 11-rebound game at Notre Dame, understands now the impact it had.
“It does have a big factor on why I’m here, for sure," said Umude, now a fourth-year junior at Southern. "Because they saw and liked things that I could do.”
Now, Umude is a rangy forward with diverse skills, starring at Southern. After sitting out a year because of his transfer, Umude was able to begin his journey as a Jaguar.
A jumper? Check. The ability to defend multiple positions? Yep, Umude is able to hang toe-to-toe with a swift point guard if he must.
“Well, his energy level is really high,” Scott said. “He plays with a lot of energy. He’s very passionate about the game of basketball. He’s a big-time athlete. He can step out and shoot. He can guard some guards a little bit.”
Umude is also a dunker. A big one. The 205-pound high flyer from San Antonio is known for firing up the players Southern’s bench, both in warmups and during games, as a high-volume reserve with leaping ability unmatched on the Jaguars’ roster.
“I can step out and shoot the midrange, the 15-footer,” Umude said. “I can also attack and play above the rim ... I’m looking forward to using my size as a mismatch on some of the defenders, the bigger defenders that are guarding me. I plan on using my quickness and speed to help out the team in scoring.”
Umude had to wait until the end of the fall semester to become eligible. He has played 11 games, and though he hasn't started once, he makes the most of his 23.5 minutes per game.
Umude is Southern's second-leading scorer with 12.5 points per game, trailing only behind Jared Sam (15.5). Umude has shot 53 percent from the floor and is second on the team with 6.2 rebounds per game.
Umude’s production is no surprise to Southern — not after the coaching staff saw that Notre Dame game two years ago. When Umude was looking to transfer closer to San Antonio, his hometown, the Jaguars jumped.
It all started with that seemingly random game against the Fighting Irish.
“(I'm) the same player,” Umude said, “but I’m more developed and more confident, really.”