It’s been a while since we checked in on Maverick Ahanmisi. The four-year point guard out of California was last spotted with a smile and an NIT Championship shirt (probably) after the Gophers took down
Florida State SMU in the tournament’s final game in 2014. Ahanmisi’s strong NIT performance was punctuated by a career-high 21 points against High Point in the second round. Ahanmisi, best known for being a steady point guard presence off the bench, was able to take care of the ball, score a few points and knock down a key free throw here and there to keep things on track, while also nailing some circus layups along the way.
Since then? He’s gone on to have a rewarding post-college career. We were able to track him down in the Philippines (he’s half Filipino, after all) and see what he’s up to.
After hanging the NIT banner in Williams Arena, Ahanmisi talked through some professional opportunities with his agent, which was highlighted by a potential deal to play in Malaysia. Not ready to leave family and friends in the States, he punted until he nailed down an opportunity to play in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). He lived in the country for six months with his aunt and uncle while his paperwork was processed to prove his heritage, training to stay in game shape in the meantime.
Now, newcomers to the PBA must play a year in the developmental league before becoming eligible for the draft. In his one year in the D-league, Ahanmisi was able to win a championship and raise his draft stock in the process. To everyone’s surprise, he was drafted third overall to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, a veritable lottery pick.
“Everyone was pretty shocked because they’d never heard of me before,” remembers Ahanmisi.
The Cinderella story continued into the pros, where he won a championship in his rookie season. Such success came with an Adidas sponsorship, which meant new shoes, clothes and accessories. And you need to remember that the Philippines is a basketball-crazy country. PBA players are treated like NBA players in the U.S.
Ahanmisi played five years with the Elasto Painters before being traded to a different team within the league, the Alaska Aces (not actually in Alaska!).
“I went through a roller coaster of emotions during that period of time, having only played with one team my entire career. I felt as if I was leaving family,” he said.
But he found a new home with the Aces, where he signed a two-year max contract before being sidelined with a toe injury, and where subsequent rehab unveiled a tear in his patellar tendon.
Rehab usurped the better part of a season, which bled into year six. This year. The Aces garnered preseason hype, winning 7 of their first 8 exhibition games and looking like a championship contender before the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down. That means no basketball, no fans, no games. And no current opportunities to play.
So how is he passing the time? Ahanmisi is trying to stay in game shape, playing a ton of Call of Duty (look him up @MrMickRave), reading and just trying to stay of sound body and mind.
When asked what his favorite Gopher memory was, he didn’t hesitate: “Definitely beating number-one ranked Indiana at home. Everyone rushed the court. It’s an experience I would trade for nothing.”
For now, Ahanmisi has found his footing as a professional overseas. And as for the future, he has no plans to leave.
“I’ve only ever played in the Philippines, and will only ever play in the Philippines.”