Name: Buchi Awaji
Sport: Men’s Basketball
Year(s) at Citrus: 2006-2008
Honors earned while at Citrus:
- As a sophomore was named the Western State Conference South Division Player of the Year
- As a freshman was named a 1st team All-Western State Conference South Division selection
- Helped lead Citrus College to its second ever CCCAA Championship in any sport, and the first ever for the Men’s Basketball program in 2008.
- Is the second leading career scorer in program history (14.8 ppg)
- Averaged 16.5 ppg as a sophomore which is the 6th best mark in program history
Where are they now?:
After Citrus, Awaji accepted a scholarship offer from NCAA DI Kansas State University where he played in 2008-2009, appearing in 25 games and averaging 4 points a game, playing just over 10 minutes a night. Awaji graduated from KSU in 2009 and transferred to NCAA DI Southern Mississippi University for his senior season where he played in 31 games, including a pair of starts, averaging 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds a contest in just over 17 minutes of action a game.
Awaji currently resides in Redondo Beach, CA. Out of college; Awaji worked in a law firm and was preparing to go to law school when he decided to apply for the Los Angeles Police Department. Awaji was accepted and has been on the job with the LAPD as an officer for just over a year and a half.
What brought you to Citrus?
“[Former] Assistant Coach Josh Dunaj brought me to Citrus. I developed a good relationship with him and I trusted him. When I left Florida International, I just knew Citrus would be a good fit for me.”
How would you describe your Citrus experience?
“Citrus was a great experience. I had great teammates, and I still keep in touch with most of the guys and all the coaches. Especially the year that we went to the State Championships and won, that was a special time. I’ll never forget that time in my life. It had a lot to do with the coaching staff and the players that we had around.”
How did your time at Citrus help prepare you for the four-year level?
“It helped me out tremendously. All the extra work that we would put in before the season helped me out a lot. [Former Citrus Head] Coach [Rick] Croy brought in competitive players and so our practices became like games. That’s what made us so good. The whole coaching staff was competitive. They wanted the best for me, and they pushed me. I used to get mad sometimes, but it was always for the better. I thank him [Coach Croy] for that now.”
If you had to sum up Citrus in one word what would it be and why?
“Extravagant. That’s the best way to describe the things that we accomplished when I was there. We did some things that made history. It was a wonderful, extravagant experience. It was a wonderful time in my life.”
If someone asked you if they should attend Citrus and play a sport, what would you tell them and why?
“I would tell them it’s a great school in a great location. It’s in a competitive environment. The support staff and the entire faculty are great. On the academic side things were on par with the other schools I went to. Most of all it’s the support you get from everywhere else on campus. When you have the kind of support across campus like we did, it’s hard not to succeed.”