SU Strengthens Back Line With Addition Of Obokoh
While it’s safe to say that Jim Boeheim has earned the trust and faith of Syracuse fans when it comes to recruiting, it’s also true that in mid-October, SU sat with just one commit from the vaunted class of 2013 with several scholarships available. Though the team had (and continues to have) several irons in the fire, it was a bit too quiet on the recruiting front as premiere prospects popped left and right for top programs across the country. Fortunately, after missing on Wayne Selden Monday afternoon, some positive news emerged that night with the announcement that Chinonso Obokoh, a 6’10 center from Rochester by way of Nigeria, had verbally committed to the Orange.
Obokoh’s addition immediately adds depth to what is already a very talented back line. Assuming no defections, the Orange will enter the 2013-14 season with five players 6’8″ or taller, and that’s if the coaching staff decides they’re comfortable with their front line and move on to other priorities. Time will tell if that’s the case, but as it is, SU has a stout group with the potential to be absolute hell for ACC offenses and that very few, if any opponents can match.
At 220 pounds, Obokoh figures to play a defense-first role similar to Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita, with one noteworthy difference being that Obokoh has shown the ability to guard well out to the perimeter. If Obokoh sticks at center, that skill may not be required in a zone defense like Syracuse’s, but mobility in a big man is always a nice thing to have. Offensively, he has a ways to go, but with scorers expected to be littered elsewhere throughout the roster, it’s hard to be too concerned with his scoring limitations at this point.
Obokoh’s commitment also gives credence to a couple of the Orange’s more overlooked recruiting assets, the team’s elite camp and Midnight Madness, both of which Obokoh attended. We all know SU’s recruiting cache is led by its Hall of Fame coach, conference, history, high-capacity venue and strong academic programs, but it can be easy to forget about the team’s ancillary tools, but in reading the tea leaves, the elite camp and Midnight Madness played significant roles in Obokoh’s decision-making process. After his weekend on the Hill, he reportedly canceled a visit to Texas, which annually lures in top-tier high school talent, and phone calls to Jim Boeheim and Mike Hopkins with the good news followed.
On the fringes, Obokoh’s verbal may also affect the outlook of his Bishop Kearney teammate and fellow center Thomas Bryant. Bryant, a sophomore, attended Syracuse’s elite camp and Midnight Madness with Obokoh and the Orange is prominently listed among his suitors. While Bryant may still be a couple years away from deciding where he’s headed, the short-term future continues to shape up very well for the ‘Cuse, even if it hasn’t moved at the pace that some fans would like.