Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Mouphtaou Yarou, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound power forward from Maryland Montrose Christian, will commit to Villanova at 4 o’clock today.
“That’s where his commitment is going to,” Chris Timba, Yarou’s guardian, said by phone. “Villanova was really the first school that really believed in Mouph. Not too many schools believed he could play at that level. Villanova was the first school.”
Yarou also had interest from New Mexico State, UCLA, Providence, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt and St. John’s, Timba said.
“Villanova really made the right move by inviting him over for unofficial visits,” Timba said. “He’s a quiet guy. He liked the atmosphere at Villanova, not too big. He also gets great academic support.”
Yarou, a native of Benin in West Africa, came to the U.S. in January and is now a senior at Montrose Christian after transferring from Massanutten (Va.) Military School. He is ranked No. 5 among power forwards in the Class of 2009 by Rivals and No. 14 overall. He was named Co-Outstanding Player of the NBA East segment of the Hoop Group Elite camp at The College of New Jersey, along with West Virginia commit Dalton Pepper. An athletic, mobile big man, he dropped 22 and 12 on UAB commit Demarcus Cousins in one game at another event.
“He could definitely be one of the best,” Timba said. “His plan is to be the No. 1 player in the country by the end of the year. His goal is to be the best. He has soft hands, big hands, he can shoot a little bit outside, can shoot inside, can shoot the 10-footer, can put it on the floor a little bit. You’re talking about a big-time player.
“How far he goes, it depends. He’s up to the challenge. He wants to do it. He has a passion for the game.”
Timba said Yarou is in the process of transferring to Montrose Christian because it “was the right move for him.”
“The conference (that Massanutten was in) as a whole wasn’t as tough,” Timba said. “He wanted to bang against the All-Americans in order to make it credible.”
Yarou will spend this year alongside future Villanova teammate Isaiah Armwood, a 6-foot-7, 178-pound power forward from Montrose Christian.
Next year, those two will join Maalik Wayns, a point guard out of Philly Roman Catholic, in Villanova’s 2009 recruiting class. Duke transfer Taylor King will also suit up in ‘09.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.