Najee gets full ride to SJSU


Khufu Najee stretches out with his teammates before starting their practice on Thursday, Nov. 23. (Kevin Hayes/The Inquirer)

Basketball players are athletes with speed and strength, and Khufu Najee possesses both.  

Najee, a 6 foot-3 inch tall guard, now playing for the Vikings, was this season’s first DVC basketball player to sign his letter of intent to play college ball at San Jose State University next year on a full-ride athletic scholarship.

Najee, 18, a freshman, played only a handful of games at DVC before signing his letter.

As a star basketball player at Berkeley High School, Najee managed to keep a 3.45 cumulative GPA when he graduated, as well as being a first team all-league selection.

He was offered the scholarship to play college basketball at the Division I school because he well both on the court and in the classroom.

Head basketball coach Steve Coccimiglio said he is happy to work with Najee.

“The fact that Najee will only be with us for one year is not a factor,” Coccimiglio said. “At the two-year level you build your team hoping to have returning players, but it is not critical. I recruited Khufu with the hope that he could earn a Division I scholarship in one year and I am happy for him.”

Najee’s teammates said they’re happy for him, even if it means only having him on the team for one season.

“He works hard and he plays well,” teammate Louis Lowe said. “He is still a team player. He isn’t cocky and is one of the hardest workers on the team. Because he was the first to sign his letter of intent, it pushes everyone to work toward a scholarship.”

Najee, who is currently averaging 12 points per game with seven rebounds in a starting role, is providing help to the Vikings who currently lead the Big 8 Conference, not having lost a game, head basketball coach Steve Coccimiglio said.

Najee said he knows that his situation is a difficult one. He’s leaving a team after just one season, so he will miss the opportunity to bond with the team over the two seasons players are eligible for at the community college level. Najee said his coaches care about their players, and he appreciates that they understand the circumstances he is in.

“I love my coaches because they are trying to prepare me for the next level,” he said. “They don’t treat me any differently than the other guys. They help me a lot.”

Najee, who is taking four courses at DVC, has had to transition from being strong academically in high school to the strains of college and said he attributes his success in the classroom to playing basketball.

“[Playing] basketball helps with life skills including school,” he said. “In college you don’t have to go to class, your homework is more to studying. It’s easy to want to skip class, but I feel like I’m good with my self determination. I want to succeed in school and basketball.”


Contact Gerardo Recinos at [email protected]