Former Red Hawk Wembi earns 4 Premier League honors

Photo by Marin Sušić
Photo by Marin Sušić

SINJ, Croatia — Former Catawba Valley Community College men's basketball standout Emmanuel Wembi is making big waves in just his rookie season of playing the sport internationally.

Wembi has been named the Center of the Year by in its 2020 All-Croatian Premier League Awards, which were released this past week.

The 6-foot-8, 224-pound center was also tabbed Second Team All-League, a member of the All-Imports Team and also selected to the All-Defensive Team.

Wembi first found out about the awards after receiving a few texts from people at Immaculate Training — a Charlotte business that has helped Wembi transition into professional basketball.

"As soon as I read about all the awards I received, I just sat in my room and felt so blessed and proud of myself," Wembi said. "Going into the season, I wasn't expecting any awards or hoping for any. I just went into the season with a motivation to have a statement year and prove to people I can play overseas."

Wembi averaged 10.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 21 games this past season for his Premier League team, KK Alkar,

He led the Croatia Premier League in rebounding and tied for first in blocked shots with 29 — the most in a single season in league history.

"I knew that I had to bring something to table for my team," Wembi said. "In my first couple practices, I only focused on playing defense and rebounding because my coach in Croatia wanted me to be a two-way player. I just focused more on playing defense throughout the year. I really didn't expect it to lead to all of these awards."

Aside from his play on the court, living in a different country and being a part of its culture was something Wembi will never forget.

"The experience was amazing," he said. "Each day I took as a blessing because not many people get to have this opportunity, and I didn't want to take it for granted. The living culture is very different there than it is here in the states. People are really nice and genuine. The way of living is different. People walk more and ride bikes around the city and town more than riding in cars. Lastly, the food was different, but very good. Life there is good."

Heading into next season, Wembi isn't sure if he'll return to play in Croatia or look at other options professionally, but he is confident that his future is bright.

"It's too early to make a decision on what I'll do and where I'll go," he said. "I'm being patient and seeking out God to open doors for me and that I will make my decision on what's best for me."