Rutgers addressed its need for frontcourt help by securing a verbal commitment from Brian Okam, a raw 7-foot, 245-pound center from Highland Prep School in Orlando, Fla. A native of Nigeria, Okam attended Archbishop Carroll in Washington, D.C. and Montrose (Md.) Christian before coming to Highland Park. He is out of high school eligibility because he played in the eighth grade and thus did not compete with Highland Park during the 2008-09 season.
Turner told the Big East Report that Okam could stand to bulk up and get stronger going forward. “His size and physical strength are a big plus,” Turner said. “I think he could add another 20 pounds to his frame! As I said before, he is a true center which, from watching the Big East this season, seems like a must to be competitive. He needs to play to improve which is something he has not had the opportunity to do, unfortunately, but I believe he will improve quickly when he gets that chance. It’s up to him!” Turner said Okam has had to work hard on his academics but has grown as a person.
“As a person, Brian has grown tremendously,” Turner told the Big East Report. “This is the area where I am proudest of him. He has been forced to take a tough academic course load because he was way short of the core credits he needed to be NCAA eligible. He has worked hard in the classroom and will complete the academic year with a 3.5 GPA. No easy feat at our school! I think that has carried over into his work ethic on the court. I don’t think he had been pushed as hard as Michael [Stewart] and I pushed him. He will need to work even harder when he gets to college, but he understands that now and has really improved.” Rutgers has two scholarships left and is still seeking a point guard to replace the graduating Anthony Farmer.