BLADENSBURG - The first time Bladensburg Head Coach Antonio Williams laid eyes on his three-year star, Daniel Oladapo, was when the youngster was a seventh grader at William Wirt Middle School.
Upon graduating from middle school, Oladapo came into Bladensburg High School his freshman year and played junior varsity wide-eyed and ready to contribute.
Williams said he was supposed to play varsity, but he had an issue with grades at the time. So after a year of patiently waiting for his opportunity to shine during his sophomore year, his head coach witnessed his god-given ability and automatically made him a captain on the varsity basketball team.
“He looked at me like I was crazy,” Williams said of Oladapo. "I wanted him to mature and become a leader,” Williams said. “I wanted him to be someone guys could count on outside of basketball.”
He showed his leadership capabilities and became both his sophomore and junior years respectively as a first option on offense.
This year Bladensburg has started off slowly, losing to three of the top 10 ranked teams in the area against Woodrow Wilson High School (D.C.), Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School and Rock Creek Christian Academy.
The Mustangs recently won their home opener on Dec. 19 against Bowie High School 58-55 where Oladapo finished with a game-high of 26 points. He is currently averaging 23 points, 10 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
“Daniel (Oladapo) has a tremendous game, and he is an all-around player,” Williams said. "I’m the type of coach that feels that if you can do it, then let’s get it done. He is maturing and getting better on and off the court. There’s nothing he can’t do, and he wants to get better.”
Oladapo recalls times when people have called him a bum playing at Bladensburg although none of the outsiders affected his game. In fact, it increased his drive toimprove, and he is continuing to create his legacy in his final year at Bladensburg.
“I feel like I’ve grown a lot here, but over the time I've been here I just continued to work hard with my trainer Curtis Yarborough, but it’s been great these past four years,” Oladapo said.
Being the best player in Prince George's County is the primary goal Oladapo has set for himself each year at Bladensburg. In his final year as a Mustang, he looks to reach that number one goal he had set for himself coming into Bladensburg.
“I feel like I am one of the top players, but each year I just set higher goals and expectations for myself, and I’m just growing into that," Oladapo said.
Playing with guys in the past like Kavon Wade, Amin Sanya and Sherwyn Devonish, Oladapo knows many teams will focus on him more because they feel that he is Bladensburg’s only offensive weapon.
He understands that when other teams focus on him by throwing different defensive looks his way it only makes his teammates better because he can create for players like Tyriq McAdoo, Tyshaun Walker and Tyson Marbury who can score the ball remarkably well on this year’s team.
Bladensburg Assistant Coach Desmond Small witnesses Oladapo's maturity every day in practice being more of a vocal leader in practices and games, something that he hasn’t always done in years past. However, Small feels like he leads by example to every one of his teammates. “Daniel (Oladapo) has grown and matured a lot since he has walked into Bladensburg,” Small said. “This year he is teaching our young guys how to do things the right way on and off the court.”