Busola Ayiloge takes the sport she loves on a court of her own

Women’s forward inspired to play basketball at young age


Juan Cebreiros

Busola Ayiloge running up scoring a layup for the women’s basketball team against Napa Valley College on Jan. 27

Jaden Fortier, Staff Writer

Since watching the NBA at a young age, Busola Ayiloge has been infatuated with the game of basketball. She was introduced to the sport when she watched the Los Angeles Lakers win the 2010 NBA Finals with her family. When she saw LeBron James play in his first year with the Miami Heat, she was hooked.

I thought he was just so cool and I looked up to him and how dominant he was,” said Ayiloge. “He was the embodiment of greatness to me.”

Ayiloge loved James ever since then, and was fascinated by him and other NBA players as she wanted “to be able to do what they did.”

With a growing love of basketball, at nine-years-old, Ayiloge’s parents put her in the Catholic Youth Organization or CYO, known for its youth sports programs.

Ayiloge has been a member of the Los Medanos College women’s basketball team since she enrolled as a freshman. During her two years, she averaged the most points and rebounds for the team, and saw increases in every statistical category which she attributed “experience and consistency” toward her improvement.

When you do something over and over again it becomes easier, so in my case the more and more I played, the better I became,” said Ayiloge, adding that the constant hours she spent working on her game and being on the team for a year helped her “understand the game better.”

Ayiloge prides herself in her abilities to stay hard-working and committed, as it separates her from others.

“I think I am very headstrong, I know what I want and I will go after it,” said Ayiloge. “With that comes being very self aware, and knowing myself well enough to put myself in a position to succeed. I understand my weaknesses and try to work on them.”

This aids Ayiloge on the basketball court, as it helps her never feel stagnant with her play and keeps her motivated to always improve. Ayiloge uses that motivation to develop into a well-rounded player performing at a high level on the court.

Determined to do whatever it takes for her team to succeed, Ayiloge describes her role on the court, as her “job is to score, but I know that I need to bring more to the table than just that for us to win.”

She compares her game to James, as he is known as one of the most well-rounded basketball players, and correlates her athleticism and ability to drive to the basket to him as well.

While Ayiloge’s progression as a player has mostly had its ups, she has gone through challenges of overcoming self-doubt. During stretches of the season when she wasn’t playing up to par, it affected her “love for the game.”

“I think I put a lot of pressure on myself and wanted us to win so badly, so sometimes when we didn’t I would put a lot of blame on myself,” said Ayiloge.

However, playing for the LMC women’s basketball team allowed her to play basketball for fun and not feel as much pressure.

“My favorite part of being on this team is being able to play the game that I love,” Ayiloge said. “Basketball gives me such a rush and it’s an escape from any problems I’m facing in my life.”

Even though the team had its ups and downs this past season, Ayiloge was happy to see how resilient the entire team was and loved how she was able to grow not just as a person, but as a player.

“I have such a great relationship with all of my teammates and I think having such a close knit group helped us a lot this season when it came to chemistry,” Ayiloge said, adding that her teammates are some of the best people she’s met at LMC and her favorite people she’s played with.

Ayiloge is also grateful for the time playing under women’s basketball coach Richard Villegas.

“Coach Villegas especially always showed up prepared and ready to give his all to the team whenever he was around us,” said Ayiloge, she added that he was very kind, and cared for everyone on the team as “people first, not players.”

  Looking ahead, Ayiloge wants to be a nurse and hopes to transfer to nursing school within the next year. As of now, Ayiloge continues to train and get better to make the team at whichever university she decides to attend.

“I do want to keep playing basketball and I hope that when I transfer to a university I can walk on onto the basketball team there,” said Ayiloge.

As she continues to grow and develop as a player, Ayiloge has no plans on ending her playing career there.